The new Missouri expungement law taking effect in January 2018 significantly expands the number of convictions that can be expunged from your criminal record, and dramatically shortens the time you must wait in order to apply for the expungement. This is obviously welcome news for Missouri residents that understand the difficulties of getting a job, renting an apartment, buying a new house, or even volunteering their time for charity, when they have a criminal conviction on their record.
For those Missourians that are fortunate to qualify under the new expanded expungement law, an expungement of their criminal conviction(s) may in most instances result in being restored to the status he or she occupied before the conviction “as if such events had never taken place.” Not every individual and not every crime will qualify under the new expungement law. Missouri’s most serious criminal offenses still cannot be expunged, including all Class A felonies, “dangerous felonies,” offenses of kidnapping, and almost all sex-related offenses.
Likewise, convictions for hate crimes and most violent crimes, such as felony assault and domestic assault, are to remain open records, as are convictions for crimes involving forgery and identity theft. Crimes for which children were the victims, or which involved a conviction for endangering the welfare of a child, or the abuse and neglect of a child, also remain ineligible for expungement.
Convictions which are eligible for expungement now include two basic categories, those involving alcohol-related driving offenses and those for all other offenses. For information concerning expungement of an alcohol-related offense, please see our expungement page listed under our DWI practice area.
As to all non alcohol-related offenses, there is a process of elimination used under the new expungement law, such that all convictions are subject to expungement except as specifically identified in the new statute. Criminal offenses not eligible for expungement under the new 2018 law may be found here.
Once an expungement of a criminal conviction has been ordered by the Court, the file will be sealed and marked “expunged.” Although “files” related to an expunged conviction are not “destroyed” under the new expungement law, the existence and details of such offense will not be reported in response to background checks for jobs, housing, loans, volunteer activities and more. Only law enforcement agencies, and certain other entities in limited circumstances, will be able to see records that have been expunged.
As the new expungement law includes filing requirements for the agencies subject to the expungement determination, rules on the manner in which the expungement petition is to be filed, and restrictions on the number of expungements that one person may obtain, An experienced criminal defense attorney can help you meet the requirements of the law, present the necessary evidence to the Court, and achieve the desired expungement of your criminal record.
Missourians seeking an expungement of a conviction must meet the following requirements:
1. For expungement of a misdemeanor, at least 3 years have passed from the date of completion of the sentence and any probation or parole.
2. For expungement of a felony, at least 7 years have passed from the date of completion of the sentence and any probation or parole.
3. The applicant has not been found guilty of any other misdemeanor or felony during the applicable three or seven year period.
4. The applicant has satisfied all obligations of his or her disposition, i.e., served the sentence of incarceration, paid fines, and successfully completed the term of probation or parole.
5. There can be no pending charges against the applicant.
6. The applicant’s habits and conduct must demonstrate that they are not a threat to public safety.
7. The expungement is consistent with the public welfare and the interests of justice.