It’s a new year. Time to change bad habits. Time to learn something new. Time to clean your criminal record. For 2018 in Missouri, there’s a little secret that could completely reshape your goals for the new year. The secret is that the Missouri General Assembly recently changed Missouri’s expungement laws to add more than 1,900 criminal offenses that could be expunged from your criminal record beginning January 1, 2018.
Previously, there were only a handful of offenses that you could get expunged from your record. Now there are more felonies and misdemeanors that can potentially qualify for an expungement. Even with the new law that offers a broad range of crimes that are eligible for expungement from your criminal record, there are still many that do not qualify for an expungement under the new law. Some examples of criminal offense that do not qualify are:
- All Class A Felonies
- Any misdemeanor or felony involving domestic abuse
- Any dangerous felony
- Any crime requiring registration as a sex offender
- Any criminal offense where death is an element
Additionally, the law does not change the eligibility for expungement of driving under the influence offenses.
Crimes that would be eligible are non-violent offenses, including drug offenses. In one’s lifetime, you can expunge up to two (2) misdemeanors and (1) felony. Misdemeanors may be expunged three (3) years after the date of completion of your sentence or probation, provided there are no other criminal offenses within that time period. Felonies may be expunged seven (7) years after the date of completion of your sentence or probation, provided there are no other criminal offenses within that time period.
WHAT DO I NEED TO DO TO BEGIN THE PROCESS OF CLEANING UP MY RECORD?
The process of getting an expungement involves filing a Petition and paying a $250 fee in the court where you were convicted. The person petitioning for the expungement will have to get fingerprinted so that the court may run a background check. The local prosecuting attorney will then have 30 days to file an objection to the court. After 30 days the court will then hold a hearing to determine if you are eligible for an expungement and determine if an expungement is consistent with the public welfare and interests of justice.
WHAT DOES AN EXPUNGEMENT DO?
An expungement will seal your record but will not be completely destroyed. For example, you would no longer see the criminal case you are expunging on Missouri’s CaseNet system but law enforcement may still be able to see the conviction if they performed a background check. It is also possible that you would not have to disclose that you were convicted of that particular crime when filling out employment applications. However, you must still disclose the conviction if you are applying for a job in following areas: emergency services providers; law enforcement agencies; banks or credit unions; the insurance industry; and any job where the employer is required to exclude applicants with criminal convictions from employment due to federal or state law.