If you’ve ever applied for a job, loan, or housing application, you have encountered the question: “Have you ever been arrested for or convicted of a criminal offense?” Many Missourians are at a serious disadvantage when applying for jobs or housing because they are required to disclose criminal history from years ago. Beginning January 1, 2018, a new law will go into effect that allows some prior convictions and guilty pleas to be expunged from public records. The new Missouri expungement law will help thousands of Missourians; it will help clear old records of nonviolent criminal offenses. It’s time to wipe the slate clean.
What is Expungement?
Expungement is the process of sealing past criminal convictions or guilty pleas from public record. The new Missouri expungement law will allow people who qualify to answer “no” on job applications, unless the employer is barred by law from hiring an applicant with a criminal conviction.
Who is eligible for Expungement in Missouri?
Before an individual is eligible for an expungement, they must meet the following requirements:
- Not have previously expunged a felony or more than one misdemeanor.
- Satisfied all terms required for disposition of the offense being considered for expungement.
- Demonstrated habits and conduct showing they are not a threat to public safety.
- Paid their fines for the crime being considered for expungement.
- Not been found guilty of felonies or misdemeanors, other than minor traffic offenses, during the time period specified for the offense being considered for expungement.
When can a Person get an Expungement in Missouri?
Depending on the type of crime, it can be expunged either three years or seven years after imprisonment or probation ends. Misdemeanors, municipal offenses, and infractions can be expunged after three years. Felonies can be expunged after seven years.
What Crimes Can be Expunged in Missouri?
Most types of misdemeanors and non-violent felonies, including marijuana possession and other drug convictions, will be eligible for expungement. The new expungement law will not help those with past convictions for dangerous felonies, intoxication related offenses, traffic offenses that impact a CDL, or domestic assault.
What Crimes Can’t be Expunged in Missouri?
- Many types of felonies involving sex crimes and violent crimes will not qualify for expungement. These offenses include felony assaults, felony kidnappings, felony sex crimes, and felonies involving death as an element. Domestic violence misdemeanors and felonies do not qualify for expungement.
- Intoxication-related offenses are also excluded from the new law. First time DWI offenders must still wait 10 years to seek expungement, without additional alcohol-related convictions.
- Law violations resulting from the operation of a motor vehicle by a person holding a commercial driver’s license are also exempt from expungement.
How Does the Expungement Process Work in Missouri?
A person seeking expungement must file a petition for expungement in the county where they were charged and found guilty of a misdemeanor or felony. The filing fee for the expungement is $250.00. The applicant must list all offenses that he or she is wanting to have expunged in the petition for expungement. The applicant will have their fingerprints taken after filing the petition.
The clerk of the court will give notice to the prosecuting attorney of the appropriate court when a petition for expungement is filed. The prosecuting attorney will then have 30 days in which to file an objection to the expungement if they choose. If no objection is filed, the court will hold a hearing to confirm the applicants eligibility and to ensure that expungement is consistent with the public welfare and the interests of justice.
Call Day or Night for a Missouri Expungement Attorney
KC Road Lawyers offers free consultations to individuals who want to know if they qualify for expungement in Missouri. Call 816-425-2420 or navigate to our contact page to find out how KC Road Lawyers can help you with your Missouri Expungement.