Legal Question in Constitutional Law in Missouri

I would like to run for a seat in the Missouri house of representatives. The qualifications require that:

" The candidate has not been found guilty of or pled guilty to a felony or misdemeanor under the federal laws of the United States of America.

Has not been convicted of or found guilty of or pled guilty to a felony under the laws of Missouri."

12 years ago I was charged with a misdemeanor, at the state level, of possession of marijuana.

My question is: Does my charge disqualify me?

I'm confused because there are two ways I can see one could interpret the qualifications.

The first way of looking at it is; If the charge is at the state level, then any misdemeanor would be OK. Only felonies would be a concern. But if the charge was filed at the federal level, then all misdemeanors and felonies are a disqualifying.

The second way of looking at it is; regardless of whether or not the charge was filed at state or federal level, if the charge would be considered a misdemeanor under federal law, then it's disqualifying (even if filed at state level).

But if it's the second way of looking at it, then the second qualification is redundant, since any missouri felony would equate to at least a federal misdemeanor or felony.

Asked on 10/06/16, 9:47 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

John Mitchell Interaction Law

You stated that you were "charged with a misdemeanor" at the state level. If you did not plead guilty and were not convicted, then it would appear that neither the federal or state provision would disqualify you.

I am not licensed to practice in Missouri, and I'm not your attorney. My sense based on what you have stated is that even if you were convicted of a misdemeanor under Missouri law, the basis for disqualification under federal law would not apply.

Good luck!

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Answered on 10/07/16, 12:06 am

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