New revisions in criminal code for 2017 mean harsher punishments

New revisions in criminal codes in...

After a decade in the making, new criminal code revisions mean harsher punishments for certain crimes.

The new criminal code revision will be taking effect Jan. 1, 2017.

The Missouri General Assembly passed SB491 back in 2014 which contained revisions to the current criminal code. 

According to the Missouri Association of Prosecuting Attorneys, the revisions took about 10 years to draft, pass and implement. 

The association said the revisions to the criminal code is an effort to institute a modern criminal code as a foundation for the criminal justice system of the21st century in Missouri. 

The revision touches on most all aspects of criminal law, including strengthening the punishment for repeat, violent offenders; increasing the penalties for child sex predators; and enhancing DWI enforcement laws. 

Some of those highlights include: the addition of a fifth-felony class; creation of four levels of felony child molestation; addition of incest as an aggravator in child molestation cases; raising the range of punishment of causing a death in a drunk driving crash; and the classification of habitual DWI offenders as dangerous felonies. 

Some of the new revisions will also mean harsher punishments. 

For example, the addition of incest as an aggravator in child molestation cases means an increase in punishment.

Also, causing the death in a drunk driving crash could mean up to 10 years in prison.

A special committee was formed through the Missouri Bar designed to draft a revision to the Criminal Code, a structure that the association said had been "neglected for decades."

More than 30 public hearings were debated on the floors of the General Assembly for three years before being passed. 

Missouri Association of Prosecuting Attorney president Amy Fite said in a statement, "By involving all stakeholders and through a disciplined structure of incrementally increasing punishment for non-violent to violent crimes and first-time to repeat offenses, and resisting efforts to create duplicative or unnecessary crimes when that criminal conduct is already addressed through existing statutes."

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