Columbia, Missouri Criminal Defense Blog

U.S. Supreme Court weighs in on warrantless cellphone searches

When police arrest someone, the law permits them to conduct what is known as a search incident to arrest, even if they do not have a search warrant. This allows them to search the suspect’s pockets and personal belongings such as a purse, shopping bag or wallet, in order to check for weapons and prevent the destruction of evidence.

But until very recently, it was unclear whether police could look at the contents of an arrested person’s cellphone as a part of a search incident to arrest. Now, however, the U.S. Supreme Court has settled the issue with a resounding “no.”

Missouri police stepping up DWI enforcement this weekend

Missouri law enforcement will be out in full force this weekend, cracking down on drivers who are under the influence of alcohol. With all the celebrating being done this Independence Day at family barbeques, company picnics and friendly get-togethers, it is easy to drink more than you planned to. Therefore, it is important to plan ahead to make sure you get home safely -- and legally.

As part of the “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign, police throughout the state will be conducting saturation patrols, meaning that there will be more officers than usual on the roads to keep an eye out for impaired drivers. Historically, drunk driving arrests spike on the Fourth of July to a rate higher than almost any other day of the year. 

29 arrested in Missouri drug sweep

Following a lengthy investigation involving a number of different law enforcement agencies, more than two dozen people have been arrested in south-central Missouri drug sweep.  

The defendants are facing charges for a wide range of drug-related offenses, including possession and distribution of street drugs like marijuana and heroin, as well as prescription painkillers and other medications. Others caught in the roundup have been charged with crimes relating to drug manufacturing, including manufacturing methamphetamine and growing marijuana.

Foristell, Missouri, man accused of dragging trooper in DWI stop

A Foristell, Missouri, man is facing an assault charge related to an alleged drunk driving traffic stop in St. Charles. Assault on a government worker charges in Missouri are serious offenses. The statutes list a wide number of positions that may involve these similar types of alleged crimes, ranging from a law enforcement officer to utility workers or emergency personnel. Assault on a law enforcement officer is a felony level offense that can be added on top of other charges, like a Missouri DWI offense.

Authorities say that a Missouri State trooper sought to pull over a driver to investigate a potential drunk driving incident on Interstate 70. News reports do not indicate what led the trooper to suspect that the driver may have been impaired. Authorities believe that the driver pulled over; however, when the trooper approached the stopped car, authorities claim that the driver fled the scene in his vehicle.

Former Macks Creek teacher sentenced in student rape case

Just last week we discussed criminal charges leveled against a Missouri teacher involving allegations of sex crimes. Allegations of sexual offenses can result in significant consequences that are not associated with many other types of offenses, including potential sexual offender registration requirements depending on the type of the criminal charge. When a teacher is accused of a crime, professional licensing issues may follow.

When police question a person about an incident, information about other potential crimes may come to light. In general, a person suspected of a crime has the right to remain silent regarding his or her possible involvement in an offense. But, police often derive information from one person that may implicate another, and the right to be free from self-incrimination is not implicated in such a situation.

Missouri teacher accused of sex crimes involving 2 students

We have discussed the topic of sexting on more than one occasion on this blog. The trend of people sharing sexually explicit material through cellphone communications seems to be continually on the increase across the country. Unfortunately, sexually explicit material shared through cellphone communications can result in criminal charges in some situations if minors are allegedly involved.

The father of a student in Joplin, Missouri, claims that he found numerous naked photos of an adult woman on his son’s cellphone. The father says that the images depicted a 32-year-old teacher. He says that he talked to the teacher about the images, and further claims that the woman admitted having sent the photos to the man’s son, who is a 16-year-old student.

Missouri man indicted on federal charges in OD death

When a person dies from a drug overdose, law enforcement may open an investigation in hopes of tracking down where the drugs came from. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that deaths caused by drug overdoses, including prescription medication overdoses, have been on the rise over the past 20 years. The CDC says that more people die from overdoses than are killed in motor-vehicle accidents.

The trend apparently is not going unnoticed by the law enforcement community as agencies and prosecutors all across the nation seek ways to file charges related to these tragedies. Last October we discussed charges in Missouri against two teens related to an alleged synthetic drug overdose death. State prosecutors added a manslaughter charge related to that case in January.

New Florence woman charged in kid's shooting incident

A shooting incident in New Florence, Missouri, has led to criminal charges for the mother of the boy authorities believe fired the weapon. The charges, however, are not directly related to a weapons offense, but are more directly associated with alleged criminal negligence that creates substantial risk of harm to a child under the age of seventeen.

Police believe that a 14-year-old boy fired a shotgun, hitting an 11-year-old girl in the throat. The girl was hospitalized with the gunshot wounds; her condition was not reported in a recent account from Mid-Missouri’s ABC 17 News.

Former Mizzou Price player charged with felony tampering

Earlier this month we reported that Missouri basketball player Zach Price was arrested on suspicion of assault charges. On April 3, Price had more than one brush with the law. During the early morning, as we previously discussed, Price was arrested after an alleged altercation in the Stadium Boulevard area. It turns out that police a second time that same day on suspicion of assault near Rock Bridge Elementary. The basketball team later cut ties with the 20-year-old.

Prosecutors now claim that Price engaged in unlawful tampering with a vehicle related to the events in early April. Tampering in the first degree is a class C felony under Missouri law. Price faces a statutory maximum of up to 7 years in prison on the felony charge. Authorities say that more charges could follow, as the investigation is ongoing.

Aldon Smith arrested after alleged airport bomb comment

Aldon Smith was arrested on suspicion of making a false bomb threat at a West Coast airport on Sunday. The former University of Missouri football player is suspected of making a comment about having a bomb as he passed through airport security. The FBI is investigating the matter. Smith, who plays professional football with the 49ers, was selected for random screening at the airport.

A TSA official claims that Smith stated he had a bomb. Airport police later met with the football player in the terminal. Authorities say that Smith was placed under arrest after being uncooperative with law enforcement.

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