Where To Do Court-Ordered Community Service In Missouri

court-ordered community service

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:

  • Library
  • Church
  • School
  • Community Center
  • Food Pantry
  • Habitat For Humanity
  • Animal Rescue
  • Salvation Army
  • Goodwill

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:

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.

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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]

Where to Do Community Service in Missouri

court-ordered community service

Here are some suggestions for where to do court-ordered community service in Missouri.

What is Community Service?

Doing work without getting paid is not the same as community service. For it to be considered community service, you must do unpaid volunteer work for a legitimate non-profit, charitable organization.

Court-ordered community service is volunteer work that a defendant is required to do for a charitable non-profit organization as punishment for committing a crime or as a condition of probation.

For less-serious cases such as a speeding ticket, the defendant may choose to do community service instead of paying the fine. If you choose this option, you must appear in court and ask the judge for permission.

Where Can I Do Community Service?

If you have been ordered by a judge to do community service, most courts will allow you to volunteer at any location and will not require you to do the work in the city or county in which your 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 your plea bargain deal, you won’t have to return to Steelville to do the work. You can complete the 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.

What If I Don’t Get All of the Community Service Hours Done by the Court Deadline?

Don’t wait until the day before the deadline to notify the court that you were unable to complete the community service hours. You will have to appear in court (or hire an attorney to appear for you) to explain to the judge why you failed to complete the hours and ask the judge for an extension of the deadline.

Judges are generally pretty understanding if a defendant can show they made a good effort to complete the community service hours. If you go to court and show the judge proof that you have completed at least some of the hours and explain why you were unable to do all of it (for example, bring proof that you are attending college full-time and working two part-time jobs), the judge will probably agree to give you more time to complete the hours.

If you don’t complete the court-ordered community service hours and you don’t appear in court on your court date, the court will issue a warrant for your arrest and the Prosecutor will withdraw the previously negotiated plea bargain deal.

Where To Do Court-Ordered Volunteer Work

You can do community service at any legitimate non-profit charitable organization, such as the following:

  • Library
  • Church
  • School
  • Community Center
  • Food Pantry
  • Animal Rescue
  • YMCA
  • Salvation Army
  • Goodwill

Upon completion of the community service hours, you must ask the charitable organization for a letter on their letterhead confirming that you completed the work, then submit that letter to the court before the deadline. Some courts will allow the defendant to mail proof of completion to the court, while others require the defendant to personally appear in court to show the judge proof that they completed the work.

Some courts have a list of approved charitable organizations where defendants can do community service. If you have questions about whether a charitable organization will be approved by the court, you can consult your attorney or call the court clerk.

Please Note:  Some charitable organizations welcome volunteer workers but do not accept court-ordered community service. For example, the St. Louis Humane Society does not accept court-ordered community service at their St. Louis locations, but they will allow it at their Longmeadow Rescue Ranch in Union, MO.

Community Service in St. Louis

In addition to the charitable organizations listed above, here are some St. Louis organizations where you can volunteer:

 


If you need help with your criminal case or speeding ticket, call St. Louis criminal defense & traffic law attorney Andrea Storey Rogers at (314) 724-5059 or email her at [email protected] for a free consultation and a flat-fee price quote for legal representation.