As anyone who pays attention to the news this year likely realized, legislators kept themselves busy in 2012 passing a host of new measures. These bills all took affect on Tuesday, August 28, 2012. For a quick rundown on what to expect, here is some info on some of the state's new laws:
This odd law makes it a misdemeanor to intentionally disturb or interrupting a "house of worship" with profanity, rude or indecent behavior or noise that breaks the solemnity of the service. Penalties could include up to six months in jail and a $500 fine. However, this provision is currently facing a battle in federal court of claims that the law infringes on free-speech rights.
This law aims to reduce the disparity in sentences for crimes involving crack cocaine and powder cocaine. The new law reduces Missouri's 75-to-1 disparity ratio in sentencing for the two types of cocaine to a ratio of about 18-to-1. Under prior law, a smaller quantity of crack cocaine could trigger the same sentence as a larger quantity of powder cocaine.
These changes were prompted by a change in federal law back in 2010 which educed a 100-to-1 sentencing ratio between the two drugs. Pressure was on in Missouri to eliminate the sentencing disparities the state has had on the books for decades.
The passage of this bill allows people convicted of certain nonviolent crimes to shorten their time under the supervision of probation or parole offices by good behavior. Also gives probation and parole officers new authority to order offenders to short jail stays for minor violations, and allows judges to impose 120-day shock sentences behind bars as an alternative to potentially longer prison stays for probation or parole revocations.
Supporters of the law say that the options are designed to steer nonviolent offenders away from long-term prison sentences and toward treatment services.
Expands an existing law requiring drivers to move over a lane for stopped emergency vehicles by adding Missouri Department of Transportation vehicles.
If you've had a run in with the law and find yourself in need of a St. Louis criminal defense lawyer capable of fighting for your freedom, don't hesitate to contact our St. Louis criminal law firm today at (314) 863-0500.
Source: "Drivers must move over for MoDOT vehicles as new Missouri laws go into effect," by St. Louis Post-Dispatch, published at STLToday.com.
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