Mo. lawmakers reversing course on 2009 courts law

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Court officials are warning that thousands of infraction cases may have to be scrapped unless Missouri lawmakers take action by the end of this month. The problem stems from a bill passed last year that lowered some vehicle offenses from misdemeanors to infractions.

The bill also stated that infractions should be handled as a "civil action." That caused uncertainty among some police, prosecutors and judges about how to pursue infractions in court. For example, the Camden County prosecutor has simply stopped filing infraction cases.

A bill reversing the 2009 law passed the House and is now in the Senate. State court officials say it must be signed into law by Feb. 28 or else a six-month deadline will expire to file some infraction cases.

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