Columbia, Missouri Criminal Defense Blog

Government can't keep a felon's guns, Supreme Court rules

As some of you may know, federal law prohibits a person who has been convicted of a felony from owning or possessing a firearm or ammunition. Violation of this law can result in up to 10 years in prison though the sentence can be escalated to 15 years if the individual has been convicted three or more times for a violent offense. Here in Missouri, our gun control laws for felons are just as severe, seemingly barring even non-violent felons, which is something we pointed out in a September post last year.

People who have been convicted of a felony may find it alarming that they can never own or possess a firearm because of state and federal gun control laws. But what may be far more disconcerting is the fact that many jurisdictions have been known to seize firearms from convicted felons on the premise that they are eliminating the risk that the felon may use the gun irresponsibly. Unfortunately, this seemingly good deed is actually creating problems for convicted felons.

What to expect with an involuntary manslaughter charge

Consider for a moment what it would be like to face an escalated drunk-driving charge. Chances are you'd react similarly to many of our Columbia readers and would be incredibly scared. That's because you, like most people, understand that the decision to operate a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol is a frowned upon action here in Missouri and across the nation. And for those who break the law, serious consequences can follow.

Most people know that if they are caught driving under the influence of alcohol they could face what is called a DUI. This offense is also referred to as a DWI, which stands for driving while intoxicated. Whatever you choose to call this criminal offense, you could face negative consequences such as fines, jail sentences and the chance of losing your driving privileges. These consequences escalate though if you receive subsequent convictions later on in your life.

Does Missouri offer expungements for drunk-driving offenses?

If you've been arrested and charged with a drunk-driving offense, you've probably had the thought that many of our Columbia readers have had. You've probably thought that your life was over. Not literally of course, but you -- like so many before you -- understand the serious impact a drunk-driving offense can have on your life, particularly what it can mean for your driving privileges and possibly even your freedom.

For a lot of people across Missouri, a first-time DWI is oftentimes regarded as a huge mistake they will never make again in their lifetime. But even though most people simply want to forget that their DWI conviction even happened, law enforcement is less inclined to. As we have explained before on our blog, DWI convictions can significantly impact your life, which is why you might be asking the same questions as our post title: does Missouri offer expungements for drunk-driving offenses?

FBI admits flaws in decades of testimonies used in convictions

A few weeks ago, we started a conversation with our Columbia readers about evidence that is gathered using forensic science. Even though society as a whole might revere forensic evidence as the nail in the coffin for any criminal case, as our more frequent readers may remember from our post, new studies are pointing out the flaws inherent in the field of forensic science. These flaws, as you can imagine, result in wrongful convictions that may be difficult to appeal.

That's why the recent announcement made by the Federal Bureau of Investigation might aggravate a large number of people reading today's post. That's because in the announcement, the FBI admitted that testimonies given by forensic scientists in its microscopic hair comparison unit prior to the year 2000 could be incredibly flawed and might have actually led to a number of wrongful convictions.

Is it really illegal to collect an eagle feather?

Whether you're a long-time resident or just passing through, most people can't help but fall in love with the beauty that many parts of Missouri has to offer. According to stateparks.com, our state boasts 54 state forests and 72 state wildlife areas, which offer tourists and residents alike a chance to take in nature's beauty.

Now, some of our more frequent readers in the Columbia area might be asking at this very moment: what does this have to do with criminal law? The answer lies in the scenario we are about to present to you today.

Is forensic science really as infallible as we're led to believe?

As so many of our Columbia readers know, forensic evidence can have a very significant impact on any criminal case. Many people around Missouri and across the United States consider this type of evidence to be perfect -- infallible. Oftentimes, when it is presented during trial, people take the scientist's word -- and their evidence -- at face value. Rarely ever do people question whether or not the evidence could be misleading or worse, entirely faulty.

But as a 2009 report conducted by a National Academy of Sciences committee points out, perhaps we should be taking a closer look at the techniques used to collect this type of evidence and ask ourselves a very important question: is forensic science really as infallible as we're led to believe?

Could you be convinced you committed a crime that never happened?

“You need attorney immediately” is not just a marketing tool for criminal defense lawyers. It is a warning that anyone charged with a crime must heed. The need arises well before prosecutors have filed formal charges against you. It arises the moment that you suspect you are under investigation for a crime.

The problem of false confessions is only one reason why it is so important to have an attorney on your side in any communications with police or prosecutors. It is at this point in which you are probably thinking, “I would never confess to a crime I did not commit.” It is safe to say that most be do not intend to confess, so how does it happen?

Facing a drug charge? Get help from a Missouri defense attorney

Most of you have read or heard about a criminal case in which a person received a lengthy sentence for possessing or trafficking drugs. Many times, this happens because of strict state and federal laws concerning controlled substances. In a lot of cases, a person receives a harsh sentence because of the evidence that was put forward in the case. Oftentimes, this evidence is collected over a considerable amount of time, which creates a rather damning scenario the accused must contend with.

Although it's common knowledge that everyone has the right to an attorney when facing criminal charges, some still do not assert this right. In some cases they do not seek legal representation because they're afraid the evidence against them is too extensive. In others, a person may not have the funds necessary to obtain and retain an attorney.

Federal charges levied against 2 agents for alleged crimes

Most people have an idea in the heads about what a criminal should look like. For many people, they typically think of someone who has no regard for the law and partakes in illegal activities for personal gain. Unfortunately, as our regular Missouri readers know all too well, this isn't always the case. Sometimes good people make ill-fated mistakes that can end up costing them a lot more than their reputation in the end.

Take for example the recent federal case where two agents -- one from the Secret Service and one from the Drug Enforcement Administration -- who have been charged with serious federal crimes because of their actions during a particular investigation into the black-market website known as Silk Road. According to the criminal complaint that was unsealed last month, the two agents are both accused of laundering money and committing wire fraud. In addition to these charges, one of the agents is also facing theft charges.

Were you falsely accused of a crime?

In today's society, all of us want to believe the victim when an alleged crime has occurred. However, not all accusations are true. Despite the well-known phrase, "Innocent until proven guilty," many of us will probably agree that in most cases, this simply isn't how the public or the media often view accused criminals. 

Accusations of sexually assaulting someone are taken very seriously. But when you are the person being falsely accused of this crime, do you know your rights? 

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