Kansas City Expungement Lawyer
A criminal conviction, or even just a guilty plea, can have profound consequences that you may not have expected or understood at the time. You may have trouble finding the employment you deserve or have lost your firearms rights. Your access to your children or ability to participate in their activities at school might be limited. Or you might just want a second chance. Fortunately under Missouri law, in many cases your arrest, plea, trial, and conviction can be expunged, meaning you can petition the court to close the records of your case maintained by the State of Missouri. If the court grants your request, in most cases you will not have to disclose the conviction, and most of the collateral consequences of the offense will no longer apply to you. Missouri has several statutory mechanisms for expunging convictions, guilty pleas, arrests, and other records of criminal offenses. If you’d like to discuss your situation in order to determine the best option for you, please call 816-287-0172 to talk to a Missouri expungement lawyer now or use the form below to schedule free consultation.
Update: Due to yet another round of changes to RSMo. 610.140, as of August 28, 2019, some offenses, such as stealing, that were previous ineligible for expungement can now be expunged.
This is the statute that applies in the majority of non-driving while intoxicated expungement cases. Recent changes to RSMo. 610.140 have reduced the time you must wait before an offense can be expunged and made it possible to expunge many offenses that could not previously be expunged. However, not every charge can be expunged. Offenses that cannot be expunged include:
(1) Class A felonies;
(2) Any dangerous felony as that term is defined in Section 556.061;
(3) Any offense that requires registration as a sex offender;
(4) Felony offenses having death as an element of the offense;
(5) Felony Assault;Read More
(6) Any charge of domestic violence;
(7) Felony kidnapping;
(8) Numerous charges specifically excluded from the statute.
(9) Alcohol-related traffic offenses. (Though these offenses may be expungable under other Sections.)
(10) Driving offenses committed by holders of commercial drivers licenses.
(11) Most convictions for unlawful use of a weapon.
The statutes also limits the total number of lifetime expungements a person can have under RSMo. 610.140 to one felony or two misdemeanors. However, in many cases, multiple charges can be expunged in the same expungement petition without counting as more than one expungement.
You must wait three years from the date of arrest before filing a petition for expungement under this section. Additionally, seven years must have passed since you completed your sentence or probation if your charge was a felony, and three years must have passed if your charge was a misdemeanor. 1 In a November 2019 opinion, the Court of Appeals for the Southern District held that the three and seven year year periods set forth in the statute are mandatory waiting periods, rather than criteria for courts to consider.
Other factors the judge is to consider in deciding whether to grant a petition for expungement are:
(1) Whether the person has been found guilty of another offense, not including violations of traffic regulations;
(2) The person has fulfilled all obligations related to the offense, such as serving a sentence, completing probation or parole, and paying any related fines or restitution;
(4) The person does not have charges pending at the time the judge is considering the expungement petition;
(5) The petitioner’s habits and conduct demonstrate that the petitioner is not a threat to the public safety of the state; and
(6) The expungement is consistent with the public welfare and the interests of justice warrant the expungement.
It’s important to note that 610.140 grants the judge the discretion to base his or her decision on the factors above. That’s one of the many reasons it’s important to have a qualified attorney on your side when seeking expungement.
Although DWI is excluded from the list of offenses that can be expunged using the general expungement statute described above, a separate Missouri law allows people to expunge the arrest, guilty plea or conviction related to their first alcohol-related traffic or boating offense after ten years. RSMo. 610.130 grants the court less discretion in deciding whether the grant an expungement than 610.140, the general expungement statute described above, providing that the court shall enter an order of expungement if the following conditions are met:
(1) The petitioner (the person seeking expungement) has had no subsequent convictions for alcohol-related traffic or boating offenses.
(2) The petitioner has had no subsequent alcohol related enforcement contacts, meaning their license has not been suspended or revoked by the Missouri Department of Revenue due to a DWI arrest or citation.
(3) No such actions are pending at the time of the application.
RSMo. 610.130 applies to the records maintained by the Missouri Department of Revenue regarding a driver’s DWI in addition to the criminal case, so the record of a driver’s administrative alcohol suspension is expunged along with the record of the criminal case.
Set Aside of Guilty Plea in Municipal Courts or Ordinance Violation Bureaus — Supreme Court Rules 37.67 and 38.08
I often receive calls from drivers who have had their license suspended due to traffic offenses and the resulting points. They often ask me if it’s possible to have their convictions “expunged” so that they can get their licenses reinstated. While it is possible to expunge traffic convictions in many cases, there is often a better way to achieve this result or otherwise undo minor convictions. In many cases, Missouri Supreme Court Rules allow a defendant to withdraw a guilty plea and ask the Court to set aside the finding of guilt and conviction. Once that’s done, the defendant or his attorney is able to negotiate a plea bargain with the prosecutor as if the plea had never happened. This method has several advantages over expungement.
(1) It’s almost always quicker. It’s usually only necessary to involve the court and prosecutor’s office directly involved in the case. There is no need to give notice to other state agencies and give them time to object to the set aside.
(2) Defendant’s are not required to wait a given period of time before asking the Court for a set aside. In fact, it’s important to file the motion as soon as possible after the plea. The court can grant a motion to set aside a guilty plea at any time in order to prevent manifest injustice. However, courts are much more likely to set aside recent pleas, and a motion to set aside a trial verdict must be filed with in ten days.
(3) Whereas RSMo. 610.140 limits the number of lifetime expungements a person can have, there is no limit on the number of convictions a court can set aside.
(4) Many of the other limitations of an expungement do not apply. For example, holders of a commercial license are not eligible for expungement of traffic conditions. However, these convictions can be set aside. Contact a Missouri expungement lawyer at 816-287-0172 to discuss your case for free in order to to determine whether a set aside might work for you.