If you need a place to do court-ordered community service or just want to do some volunteer work in the St. Louis area, here are some organizations that would welcome your assistance. Also included are answers to common questions about court-ordered community service.
What Is Court-Ordered Community Service?
Court-ordered community service is work that you voluntarily do for a charitable, non-profit organization because a judge is requiring you to do it. It is usually part of a plea bargain deal that your attorney has negotiated with the court. The judge may have sentenced you to do a certain amount of community service as punishment for committing a crime, or the judge may be allowing you to do community service instead of paying a fine.
Where Can You Do Court-Ordered Community Service In St. Louis, Missouri?
Here’s a list of places where you may be able to do court-ordered community service in St. Louis, Missouri:
- Stray Rescue
- APA (Animal Protective Association)
- Animal House Cat Rescue and Adoption Center
- St. Louis Zoo
- Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis
- Habitat For Humanity
- Open Door Animal Sanctuary in House Springs, Missouri
- LongMeadow Rescue Ranch in Union, Missouri
- Tandy Community Center in St. Louis
- Operation Food Search in St. Louis
- Loaves & Fishes in Maryland Heights, Missouri
- Home Sweet Home
- Salvation Army
- Community Center
- Homeless Shelter
- Food Pantry
- Animal Rescue/Animal Shelter
How To Find a Place to Do Community Service
- Choose a few organizations where you are interested in volunteering
- Call those organizations or go online to their website to ask if they need volunteer workers
- Ask if the organization will give you a letter to prove that you completed the community service hours
- Send the letter proving you complete the hours of community service to the court (or to your attorney) before your next court date
PLEASE NOTE: Many charitable organizations have a lot of people offering to do volunteer work, so start searching soon for a place to do community service — don’t wait until the weekend before your court date.
What Do You Need To Show To The Judge To Prove That You Did Community Service?
On your court date, you will need to show the judge proof that you completed the required community service hours.
Here’s how to get proof that you completed community service:
- Ask the charitable organization to give you a letter on their letterhead stating that you completed the hours, then
- Mail the letter to the court before your next court date, or
- Send the letter to your attorney, who will file it with the court, or
- Go to court on your court date and give the judge the letter from the charitable organization, proving that you completed the community service
Not All Charities Accept Court-Ordered Volunteer Workers
Many charities are happy to have volunteers but will not accept people who are looking to do 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.
PLEASE NOTE: the Humane Society accepts court-ordered volunteer workers at their Longmeadow Rescue Ranch in Union, MO (See link to their website, above).
Make Sure The Court Will Approve Your Community Service
You can ask your attorney for a list of suggested community service locations. Or, if you don’t have an attorney, ask the court clerk or your probation officer for a list of approved charitable organizations where you can do community service.
Do You Have To Do Community Service In The City Where You Committed The Crime?
Many judges will let you do court-ordered community service in any city or state — they usually don’t require you to return to the city where you committed the criminal offense.
The judge (or your attorney) should inform you if you are required to do the volunteer work in one specific city. But it they don’t specify the location, you should ask just to be sure.
ALSO: You can divide the hours among multiple charitable organizations, if that is more convenient for you.
What If You Fail To Complete Court-Ordered Community Service By The Court Date?
If you fail to complete court-ordered community service by the deadline, you must go to court on the court date. You can explain to the judge why you didn’t complete all the hours, and you can ask for an extension of the deadline. If you have an attorney representing you, your attorney will be responsible for speaking to the judge and requesting a continuance of your court date. However, you may have to pay an additional fee to your attorney for this service.
Keep in mind that many judges are not sympathetic to defendants who ask for an extension of the deadline if they have not completed any of the required hours.
BEWARE: The judge does not have to give you more time to complete the required hours — they could sentence you for your original criminal offense because you are in contempt of the court’s order.
Don’t just skip the court date if you haven’t completed all the community service hours. If you do that, the judge will issue a warrant for your arrest, and the Prosecutor will withdraw their plea bargain offer.
If You Don’t Do The Required Community Service, It’s a Violation of Probation
If community service is a condition or your probation, it’s a violation of your probation if you don’t do the hours. The judge can revoke your probation and sentence you for the original criminal offense if you violate probation.
For a free consultation about your Missouri criminal case or traffic ticket, contact St. Louis attorney Andrea Storey Rogers at (314) 724-5059 or at [email protected]