Missouri Supreme Court ruling makes most felony stealings misdemeanors

25 August, 2016

The Missouri State Supreme Court ruled two days ago that most stealing felonies are in fact misdemeanors.  The case is State of Missouri v. Bazell No. SC95318.  The justices ruled that the enhancement provisions in Mo Rs St.  570.030.3 DO NOT APPLY unless an element of the offense is the value of the property or the service is an element of the crime. 

Mo. Rs St 570.030.1 reads.   “A person commits the crime of stealing if he or she appropriates property or services of another with the purpose to deprive him or her thereof, either without his or her consent or by means of deceit or coercion.”  Notice that there is no requirement of any proof of value in 570.030.1 in other words a normal stealing is not subject to the enhancement to a felony by 570.030.3.            

As most stealing offenses are based upon Mo Rs. St. 570.030.1 and enhanced to a felony by use of 570.030.3 most stealing offenses that up until Tuesday have been considered felonies are in fact misdemeanors...  As 570.030.3 no longer applies to 570.030.1 the only felony stealing charges that would remain are those specifically defined in other provisions of 570.030.

Those with pending felony charges for stealing are the best off as if the decision applies to them; the charge should be reduced to misdemeanors.   Next best are those with pending appeals.  It remains to be seen how this will affect probation violations for stealing convictions.