Missouri is located in the Mid-Western United States. Unofficially
dubbed the "Show Me State," Missourians are known for their stalwart,
conservative, nonincredulous characters. The land that makes up
Missouri was previously owned by the French, and acquired from them
through the Louisiana Purchase.
The state is divided into 114 counties, with St. Louis and Jackson
Counties being the most populous. Missouri is one of the biggest
producers of alcohol and tobacco in the United States.
Missouri is often regarded as a state "bellwether" in U.S. politics. A
bellwether is a leader, or an indicator of future trends. The state has
a longer run of supporting the winning presidential candidate than any
other state, having voted with the majority in every election since
1904 with only two exceptions. One of those exceptions was during the
2008 election, when the state voted for John McCain and the nation
elected Barrack Obama.
Missouri maintains some of the most permissive alcohol laws in the U.S.
In most states, there are laws prohibiting minor consumption of
alcohol, but not in this state. Missouri law allows parents to serve
alcohol to their children. State laws also protect individuals from
being civilly or criminally charged for public intoxication.
Although the state is permissive regarding alcohol consumption,
Missouri has strict laws designed to protect its citizens from the
dangers of driving under the influence. The consequences of such
actions are determined by how many previous offenses the individual has
on their record. Charges may be elevated when certain aggravating
factors are present, even on a first conviction.
Aggravating factors include driving over the speed limit, driving with
a minor in the vehicle and/or having a blood alcohol content twice the
legal limit of .08 percent. Consequences for DUI conviction include
imprisonment, probation, suspension of driver's license, vehicle
impounding, substance abuse treatment/education and fines.
Some states allow its citizens to have their records cleared of past
criminal offenses if they meet certain criteria. In Missouri, it is
difficult to get an expungement, even if the offense was a misdemeanor.
When expungement is an option, it is important to know that this will
not completely make the record disappear. It may surface again if you
apply to be in the U.S. military or if you run for public office.
In 2005, a Federal Bankruptcy Act was passed that created new
regulations regarding Bankruptcy. The new law was intended to limit the
abuse of the bankruptcy system by clarifying who qualifies and by
requiring that those meeting the qualifications to have their expenses,
income and debt compared to others in Missouri.
Depending on where they fall into the mean of the state, they will be
eligible for either Chapter Seven or Chapter Thirteen bankruptcy.
Chapter Seven eliminates debt in about three months through the
liquidation of personal property. Chapter Thirteen eliminates debt in a
maximum of five years through a personal, monthly payment plan.