Having a hard time finding a place to do court-ordered community service in Missouri? Here are some non-profit charitable organizations where you may be able to do community service, plus answers to commonly asked questions about community service.
What Is Court-Ordered Community Service?
Court-ordered community service is volunteer work that a judge requires a defendant to do as punishment for committing a crime, or instead of paying a fine or serving jail time.
Unpaid labor is not the same as community service. To qualify as community service, it must be unpaid volunteer work for a legitimate non-profit, charitable organization.
Are You Required To Do Community Service In The Same Town Where You Committed The Crime?
Most judges allow criminal defendants to do their community service hours in the town where they live, even if that is not the city where their criminal case was prosecuted.
For example, if you live in Chicago and get charged with possession of marijuana in Steelville, Missouri, your court case will be prosecuted in Steelville. If the judge requires you to do community service as a condition of probation, you won’t have to return to Steelville to do the hours. You can complete the community service hours in your home town of Chicago or whatever location is convenient for you.
You can also split up the hours among several different charitable organizations, if necessary.
Suggestions For Where You Can Do Court-Ordered Community Service
When a judge orders you to do community service, that means you must do volunteer work (without pay) at a legitimate non-profit charitable organization, such as the following:
- Community Center
- Food Pantry
- Habitat For Humanity
- Animal Rescue
- Salvation Army
Suggested Locations For Court-Ordered Community Service In St. Louis
In addition to the general list of charitable organizations listed above, here are some specific places in the St. Louis area where you may be able to do court-ordered community service:
- Open Door Animal Shelter in House Springs, MO
- LongMeadow Rescue Ranch in Union, Missouri
- Stray Rescue
- APA (Animal Protective Association)
- Animal House (cat rescue)
- St. Louis Zoo
- Habitat For Humanity
- Volunteer opportunities for animal lovers
How To Prove You Completed Court-Ordered Community Service
After you complete your court-ordered community service hours, you must provide proof of completion to the court.
To get proof of completion of community service, ask the charitable organization to give you a letter on their letterhead stating that you completed the hours. Then you must send that letter to the court before your next court date, or you can go to court on your court date and show proof of completion of community service to the judge.
How To Find Out If The Court Will Approve The Organization Where You Did The Community Service
You can ask the court clerk or your probation officer for a list of approved charitable organizations where defendants can do community service.
If they don’t provide you with a list of pre-approved organizations, you will have to call around until you find a place that will allow you to do community service work for them.
Some Non-Profit Organizations Don’t Accept Court-Ordered Community Service
WARNING: Some non-profit charitable organizations welcome volunteer workers but do not accept court-ordered community service.
For example, the YMCA and the St. Louis Humane Society do not accept court-ordered community service at their St. Louis locations. However, the Humane Society does allow it at their Longmeadow Rescue Ranch in Union, MO.
What Happens If You Fail To Complete All Of The Community Service Hours By The Court Deadline
If you fail to complete your community service hours by the court deadline, you will have to appear in court and explain to the judge why you did not complete the hours. Or you can hire an attorney to appear in court for you.
You can ask the judge to extend the deadline and give you more time to complete the hours. However, the judge does not have to give you an extension and could instead sentence you for your original criminal offense because you are in contempt of the court’s order.
If you are on probation and the community service is a condition of your probation, your failure to complete the community service is a probation violation. The judge could revoke your probation and sentence you for the original criminal offense for which you are on probation.
The Court Can Issue A Warrant For Your Arrest If You Fail To Complete Community Service
If you don’t complete the court-ordered community service hours by the deadline and you don’t appear in court to explain to the judge why you didn’t complete the hours, the court can issue a warrant for your arrest, and any previously negotiated plea bargain deal will be withdrawn.
For a free consultation about your criminal case, call St. Louis criminal defense attorney Andrea Storey Rogers at (314) 724-5059 or email her at [email protected]