Missouri Expungement Lawyer
Finding yourself with a criminal record can have devastating repercussions for your future, and a conviction on your record can block you from getting certain jobs or even finding housing. Expungement can be a great way to get rid of the stigma that comes along with a criminal record, but it’s not always easy to do in Missouri.
The introduction of a new state law, however, has made it easier for criminal records to be wiped – but you will need a skilled expungement attorney to help you navigate the maze of court records, waiting periods, and other factors that impact your chance of success.
If you are looking into expungement in Missouri, there are several things you need to know about how the process works. First, you will need to find an attorney who is experienced at handling expungements. Second, you will need to gather all of the necessary paperwork. Finally, you will need to make sure that you meet all of the requirements set forth by the court before you can file for expungement.
Our team has a wealth of experience in handling the expungement process and will work tirelessly to ensure that you have the best opportunity at accessing the outcome that you deserve, and remove your criminal conviction from your record.
Expunging a Criminal Record in Missouri
When someone is arrested for a crime, their criminal history becomes part of their permanent record. While many people think of their criminal records as something that stays hidden forever, this is simply not true – certain employers will want to see your record, and a record can bar you from certain jobs, from renting a house or getting a loan, or receiving financial support for college.
If you want to expunge a criminal record in Missouri, you must first understand what this means. An expungement removes the information about your arrest and/or conviction from public records. This means that if someone were to look up your name in a database, they would not be able to access any records or details about your offense, or even that you have been arrested.
The state of Missouri allows people to apply for an expungement after a number of years. If your case resulted in a felony conviction, you will need to wait for at least seven years to apply for expungement – this is reduced to three years for a misdemeanor offense.
An expungement offers several benefits; it allows you to move forward with your life without having to worry about being discriminated against because of your past offenses. You may also qualify for a job or other opportunities that require background checks. In addition, if you are applying for college, you may be eligible for financial aid.
The Process for Getting Your Record Expunged
The process of getting your record expunged is relatively simple in theory but does require organization. The first option is to apply directly to the court where your case was filed. This method requires filing an expungement petition with the court, which includes providing evidence of the following:
- That you have completed probation or parole successfully
- That you have paid fines and restitution as ordered by the judge
- That you have complied with all terms of your sentence
- That you have no outstanding warrants
- That you have not committed any other offenses since your last appearance in court
- That your conviction did not result in a serious felony
This process is ideal if you have already served time in prison, or if you have completed your sentence, allowing a fresh start free from the shadows of your convictions. However, it is important to note that this method does not guarantee that your record will be expunged.
It is a good idea to hire an experienced expungement attorney to help guide you through the process. They will be able to provide advice on whether or not you qualify for expungement, and if so, what steps you should take next.
What Types of Crimes Can Be Expunged?
There are two types of criminal offenses that can be expunged in Missouri:
- A misdemeanor – These include minor traffic violations such as speeding, driving under suspension, etc.
- A non-serious felony – These include more serious charges like assault, domestic violence, drug trafficking, etc.
Some examples of offenses that can be expunged include:
A DUI or DWI (driving while intoxicated) refers to operating motor vehicles while under the influence of alcohol, and this charge can be expunged once it has been on your record for 10 years, provided that this was your first and only offense.
Drugs charges can also be expunged, provided that it has been three years since the completion of jail time, probation or fines, and no offenses have occurred in the interim.
Cases involving theft can also be eligible for expungement, provided that there have been no new arrests or convictions within five years.
Which Cases Cannot Be Expunged In Missouri?
Some offenses are not eligible for expungement in Missouri, and these include dangerous felonies such as:
- Sexual Offenses
- Armed Robbery
- Aggravated Assault
Missouri law sees these crimes as a risk to public welfare, and official records must be maintained to protect the public.
How Much Does It Cost To Get My Record Expunged?
There is a fee associated with getting your record expunged in Missouri – this is a $250 charge to file the petition, plus any additional fees charged by the court. You must pay this fee before your petition is accepted by the court; a failure to pay the fee means that your petition will be rejected and you will need to start over again, though it is worth noting that exceptions and exemptions can be made to waive this fee in certain situations.
The Expungement Process
Once your petition is accepted, the court will set a hearing date. At this point, you will need to appear at the courthouse and present proof of payment of the required fees. If you do not show up for the hearing, then the case will be dismissed without prejudice.
If you are granted expungement, then your record will be sealed from public view, and you will have a chance to wipe the slate clean. This means that anyone who searches your name online will not find anything about your arrest or conviction.
However, if you fail to get your record expunged, then your record will remain visible to the general public.
How Can We Help?
We understand how frustrating it can be when you are looking into filing for expungement, and our criminal defense attorneys are dedicated to helping people just like you get their records expunged, and we offer a free consultation to discuss your options with our experienced expungement lawyers. Contact us today to schedule yours, and take your first steps toward a new future.
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.
RSMo. 610.140 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;
(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
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.
Update: In August 2021, RSMo. 610.140 was amended again, reducing the time a person must wait to have a felony expunged to three years from seven years and to one year from three years in the case of a misdemeanor. The legislature also added the language “For purposes of 18 U.S.C. Section 921(a)(33)(B)(ii)***, an order or expungement granted pursuant to this section shall be considered a complete removal of all effects of the expunged conviction” to RSMo. 610.140.8 in an obvious attempt to address the matter of whether a Missouri expungement functions as a “complete expungement” or merely a records closure, a distinction that has significant consequences, most notably with regard to restoration of federal firearms rights.
A separate statute, RSMo 610.130, allows drivers found guilty of a DWI / DUI more than ten years ago to have the event, including related administrative license sanctions removed from their records. The process of expunging a DWI is similar to expunging other offenses and, in many cases, the companion case, the ticket that led to the stop that resulted in the DWI can be expunged in the same petition.