Missouri’s New Expungement Statute

            Expungement is a process that allows someone who has been arrested or convicted of a crime to remove it from their record. Expungement can be incredibly important for people who have made mistakes in the past but now are having trouble renting apartments, getting jobs, or getting loans. Luckily, Missouri has recently approved a law that makes expungement available to many more people than before. The new statute §610.140 allows for a wide variety of crimes to be wiped off of a person’s record. But there are some limitations as well.

            To start with the limitations: No Class A felonies, no “dangerous felonies” (some forms of arson, rape, assault, etc) no offenses that require you to register as a sex offender, or felony offenses that involve a death can be expunged. Additionally, there is a limit that you can only receive expungements for up to 2 misdemeanors and 1 felony in your lifetime. (If you have multiple crimes from one “course of criminal conduct” you can include them all as one) However, if these limitations don’t apply to you, there is a process to follow for your expungement:

            In order to get your record expunged, you must submitted a writing to the court that contains the names of the law enforcement agencies, courts, attorneys, and others you think would have the records of your conviction. It must also contain your name, sex, race, address and sometimes, your driver’s license number. You must then list the offenses, violations, or infractions you are trying to expunge, the approximate date you were charged and where, and finally the case number and name of the court. After that, there is a time period for the prosecutor or others to object. Then, the court can schedule a hearing for your case and it will consider a variety of factors including:

            1. Time. The court will see if you have waited the appropriate amount of time from the completion of requirements for your offense. The time requirement is 7 years for felonies and 3 years for misdemeanors.

            2. Other crimes. The court will consider whether you have been found guilty of other crimes (including traffic regulations!) during the time period talked about above.

            3. Other obligations. The court will want to know that you paid off your restitution, fines, or other obligations that were required when you were convicted or pled guilty.

            4. Current charges. The court will want to know that you do not have any current charges pending.

            5. Threat to the public. You will want to show that your “habits and conduct” don’t present a threat to the public or the state.

            6. Interests of Justice. You will want to show the court that granting your expungement is in the interests of justice and public welfare.

            If the court decides that you are a good case for expungement, you will pay a $250 fee and then the charges you applied to have expunged will be cleaned from your record! This means that you can respond “no” to questions on job applications and other documents which ask if you have been convicted of a crime! (There are still some times when you will have to disclose that you had an expungment but it would be less common- like applying to work in a bank or insurance company) The statute also says you get any rights back that might have been restricted because of your criminal record. (Potentially something like the right to vote) Clearly, getting your record expunged can have a big impact on your life. If you have any questions about the process or would like help, please call an attorney at Bollwerk & Tatlow or email me directly at [email protected]!

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