P.O. Box 284
509 East Broadway
Ashland, MO 65010

Disclaimer: Jeffrey R. Kays provides the information in this web site for informational purposes only. The information does not constitute legal advice. The use of this site does not create an attorney-client relationship. Further communication with our attorneys through the web site and e-mail may not be considered as confidential or privileged. Please contact our attorneys if you wish to discuss in more detail the contents of this web site.


A felony is a serious crime usually punishable by imprisonment for more than one year. A misdemeanor, on the other hand, is a less serious crime and usually punishable by a fine, penalty, forfeiture, or imprisonment up to one year.

Whenever someone is being investigated for a crime, the first thing the police will do is try to get a statement from that person.  You need a criminal lawyer to advise you during this process because it could make the difference between going to jail and avoiding criminal charges entirely. For instance, you should take advantage of your right to remain silent until you speak with a criminal lawyer (i.e., do not make any voluntary statements to the police without speaking to an attorney). A criminal lawyer knows that any voluntary statements given to the police before charges are filed can have a devastating impact on the outcome of a case. In fact, many criminal charges are filed precisely because of those voluntary statements which people make to police.

Arrest, Search, and Seizure

If you are stopped in your car—or other form of automobile—and the police ask to search your car, be aware that under the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, you are never required to consent to a search of your vehicle. You need to be aware of this because a police officer is not required to advise you of your right to refuse consent to have your vehicle searched. If you choose to refuse consent for the officer to search your vehicle, make sure that you explicitly convey to the officer your intent to refuse consent and also that you will not physically obstruct him if he believes that he has probable cause. Further, if the officer threatens to arrest you if you do not consent to the search, know that he is violating the law by making such a threat, but he will probably arrest you nonetheless.

Be aware that being Mirandized (i.e., having your Miranda rights read to you) is only required of the police if they question you while in custody. Therefore, as stated in the Introduction section, you should consult a criminal lawyer before saying anything to the police. If you make incriminating statements to the police while not in custody, those statements can be used against you in a court of law even if you were not Mirandized.

Driving While Intoxicated (DWI)

An important tip to remember if you have been pulled over for DWI / DUI is that you do not have to take any field sobriety tests. The only test that has ramifications for refusing is the breathalyzer test given after you are arrested. This means that any field sobriety test that the officer asks you to perform prior to your arrest should be refused. These field sobriety tests are usually the main pieces of evidence that the state will use against you at a DWI / DUI trial. Without them, a prosecutor will have a tougher time proving to a judge or jury that you were Driving While Intoxicated. Remember that an officer must allow you a reasonable period of time to contact a lawyer if you are arrested for a DWI / DUI, BUT ONLY IF YOU ASK FOR ONE.

First offense DWI charges are typically misdemeanors while, on the other hand, it could be treated as a felony if the offender has multiple drunk driving convictions. If you are criminally charged with a DWI, it could result in fines, probation, jail time, etc. If your blood alcohol content (BAC) was over the legal limit, which in Missouri is 0.08, or you refused a breathalyzer test, a suspension or revocation of your driving privilege is automatic unless you or an attorney fight the suspension in an administrative action and win.

If you have recently been charged with driving under the influence you could have as little as 15 days from the date of the Notice of Suspension or Revocation to request an administrative hearing. If you do not request a hearing within this time period a suspension or revocation could become final. This is why it is important that you hire an experienced DWI lawyer as soon as possible.

Drug Crimes

Possession of a Controlled Substance

To be guilty of the crime of possession of a controlled substance in Missouri you need both knowledge and control of the drug or drugs.  Without both knowledge and control there can be no possession. In Missouri, possession of a controlled substance is a felony unless the substance is thirty-five (35) grams or less of marijuana and then it is a misdemeanor. 

Distribution, Delivery, Manufacture, and Possession with Intent to Distribute

These are all very serious felony charges in Missouri. Distribution or delivery charges can become even more serious if it is alleged that the drugs were distributed or delivered within two thousand feet of a school or within one thousand feet of government housing or a park.

A criminal charge of manufacturing an illegal substance can be difficult to prove if the culprit is not caught in the act because many of the items used to make drugs are items that can be found in virtually everyone’s home, are legal to purchase and readily available at most stores.  

A criminal charge of manufacturing an illegal substance can be difficult to prove if the culprit is not caught in the act because many of the items used to make drugs are items that can be found in virtually everyone’s home, are legal to purchase and readily available at most stores.  

Possession with intent to distribute charges are made by the quantity of the drugs, how they are packaged as well as other items found with the drugs such as scales, baggies, large amounts of cash etc. 

Drug Trafficking

Depending on the type and amount of drugs involved, a possession charge could turn into a more serious trafficking charge.  A trafficking charge can not only result in a lengthy prison sentence, but also can result in no parole for your prison sentence.  


Assault in the first degree is a charge which alleges that a person was attempting to kill or knowingly cause (or attempting to cause) a serious physical injury to another person.

Assault in the second degree is similar to the first degree except that there is some mitigating factor when the accused:

·         Acts out of a “sudden passion”

·         Attempts to cause or knowingly causes physical injury to another person by using a deadly weapon

·         Recklessly causes serious physical injury to another person

·         Operates a motor vehicle while intoxicated and negligently causes physical injury to another person

·         Recklessly causes physical injury to another person by means of discharging a firearm

Assault in the third degree is charged when someone is accused of attempting to cause (or recklessly causes) physical injury to another person.

Domestic assault charges in the first, second, and third degrees are similar to those previously described except that these charges involve assault committed against a family or household member or an adult who is or has been in a continuing social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature.


A charge of stealing can result in a felony or misdemeanor conviction depending on the severity of the charges filed (the severity also determines whether the charges are filed in state or municipal court).


A person commits the crime of stealing when they take property or services from someone without that person’s consent or by using deceit. The classification of the charges filed—whether charges as a felony or misdemeanor—is determined by the value of the property stolen.

Receiving stolen property

A person commits the crime of receiving stolen property if he/she receives or disposes of property believing that it has been stolen. To prove the belief element of this crime, prosecutors often show evidence that the person got the stolen property in exchange for something which he/she knew was far below its reasonable value or that he/she took the stolen property under circumstances that should cause a person to believe the property was stolen. 

Fraudulent use of a credit or debit device

Fraudulent use of a credit or debit device occurs when a person uses a credit or debit device to obtain services or property, knowing that his/her use of the device is unauthorized.


A person commits the crime of forgery when he/she intends to defraud by making or altering a writing so that it appears to have been made by someone else or to give the writing a genuineness, antiquity, rarity, ownership, or authorship which it does not possess. It is also considered forgery to use or transfer a writing when you know it has been altered.