How to Expunge a Criminal Record in Missouri?
If you have a criminal conviction lurking in your past, you might be eligible to have that criminal record sealed through an expungement. The Missouri expungement laws have expanded making more people eligible for expungement than ever before. If you have not recently consulted with an attorney about your right to clear your name and your record under the Missouri expungement laws, now is the time to do so.
If you qualify, your cases could be expunged by the court within a few months. However, you will need to file certain documents with the court and present testimony at a court hearing:
- First, you must file a petition for expungement in the Circuit Court of the County in which your prior crime was prosecuted. A petition is a court document where we tell the judge you qualify for an expungement, name the entities (otherwise known as “Respondents”) we believe have records of your prior criminal record, and ask the judge to order those entities seal your criminal record.
- Next, a copy of your petition and a notice of your expungement hearing will be served on anyone we allege has possession of your criminal record. By law, they have at least 30 days to respond to our petition, so your expungement hearing is scheduled out into the future to ensure that happens.
- Finally, once everyone has been given notice and a chance to respond to our petition, we will have an expungement hearing in front of a circuit judge. The judge will determine whether you qualify for an expungement under the law and whether it is in the interest of the public welfare to grant you the expungement. If all goes according to plan, your record will then be ordered sealed.
How to Know if You Qualify for an Expungement
Under Missouri Law, determining whether you qualify for expungement is complicated. However, here are some general guidelines to point you in the right direction:
- The crime you are seeking to expunge must not be excluded by the expungement law. For a list of crimes that are not eligible for expungement, see RSMo. 610.140.
- For felonies, at least seven years must have passed since completing probation, jail, prison, or parole. For misdemeanors or infractions, that waiting period is only three years.
- You are limited to one unrelated felony and two unrelated misdemeanors or infractions when jail time is authorized. If there was no jail time authorized, you can expunge unlimited misdemeanors and infractions.
- All your court costs, fines and restitution must have been paid in full.
- You must not have been convicted of any other misdemeanor or felony.
- You must not have any other pending charges.
Types of Expungement in Missouri
Generally, there are three main types of criminal records that can be expunged under Missouri law:
- Criminal Conviction/Finding of Guilt
Why Get an Expungement?
Common reasons people get expungements include:
- Your case will come off Missouri’s public CaseNet database.
- Answer “No” when most job applications or employers ask if you’ve ever been convicted of a crime.
- Regain your constitutional rights to vote and own a firearm.
- Access greater loan eligibility and better interest rates saving you money long-term.
- Avoid your criminal record from being used against you in future court proceedings.
- Remove the stigma of a criminal conviction.
While these general rules can guide you in the right direction, to get the best answer about whether or not you qualify for an expungement, call us directly or submit the contact form.