If you are interested in applying for a criminal record expungement in Missouri, here is what you need to know:
Not all crimes in Missouri can be expunged under the new statute!
The petition must be filed in the court where you were charged or found guilty of any offenses, violations, or infractions.
You must name all law enforcement agencies, courts, municipal prosecuting attorneys, state repositories of criminal records or others you believe may possess the records for each item you are seeking to have expunged.
There is likely a period of time after a conviction you must wait before applying for an expungement. The statute indicates that you must wait seven (7) years for a felony and three (3) years for a misdemeanor, but it does not explicitly demand this, so there may be hope for procuring it sooner than expected.
The State has 30 days to file objections to your petition and a court must hold a hearing within 60 days following the objection or 30 days after filing if no objection.
There is a $250 application fee, unless the applicant is certified to be a poor person
If you are successful, you will be allowed to maintain that you have never been convicted of the crime(s) that were expunged.
Expungement in Missouri Overview
Senate Bill 588 passed both houses of the Missouri Legislature in the spring of 2016 and was signed by Governor Jay Nixon on July 13, 2016. It went into effect on January 1, 2018 and many Missourians for the first time will have the opportunity to finally shed themselves of prior convictions.
It will not help those who have been convicted of child pornography or violent crime, but for thousands, it will be a source of real relief.
The particulars of the new Missouri expungement law include:
- Petitions for expungement may be filed in any Missouri court in which such person was charged or found guilty.
- Petitioners must list all offenses that he or she is seeking to have expunged.
- Convictions that cannot be expunged are (i) Class A felony offenses; (ii) dangerous felonies as defined in section 556.061 of Missouri statutes; (iii) any offense that requires registration as a sex offender; (iii) any felony where death is an element of the offense; any felony offense of assault; (iiii) any misdemeanor or felony of domestic assault; (iiiii) or felony offense of kidnapping and a number of other offenses that fall broadly under the category of crimes against persons.
- Also excluded from expungement are intoxication-related offenses. First time DWI offenders can still seek expungement in Missouri after 10 years without additional alcohol-related convictions under section 577.054.
- Violation of laws regulating operation of a motor vehicle by an individual who holds a commercial driverâ€™s license cannot be expunged.
- Although it does not appear that that there is a time period requirement that must pass before applying, a court may consider if seven years have passed in felony cases or three years in misdemeanor cases. Lack of subsequent criminal record, payment of restitution from past convictions and the petitioner's habits and conduct showing that he or she is not a threat to society may also be considered.
- The clerk of the court must give notice to the prosecuting attorney, circuit attorney or municipal court prosecuting of the appropriate court when a petition for expungement in Missouri has been filed. Once notified, the prosecuting authority has thirty days to object to the expungement.
- Expungement of arrest records cannot occur sooner than three years after an arrest.
- Once an order of expungement is entered the underlying court file must be closed.
- A person who has been granted an order of expungement may, with regard to the expunged conviction, answer "No" to an employer inquiry as to whether the applicant has ever been convicted of a crime unless the employer is required to exclude certain people with criminal convictions from employment. If a law mandates the employer to not hire convicted offenders the applicant must answer that they have been convicted of a crime.
- A Missouri expungement filing fee of $250.00 must accompany a petition to expunge unless the applicant is certified to be a poor person.
Does this mean I can get an expungement in Missouri?
A close reading of the Missouri expungement legislation (Senate Bill 588) reveals that there are still many impediments to expungement but for crimes against property and drug crimes there is hope. Likewise, to those unfamiliar with the process, there are pitfalls that can discourage applicants. Obviously, the process is defined by law and who better to understand and negotiate its provisions than a lawyer.
We anticipate there will be a high demand for this service and have been studying the law to best see how we can take advantage of its provisions for clients who can benefit.
Our team can help you quickly assess if you are eligible for expungement.