If you have a prior criminal conviction, getting a fresh start can be challenging. But a new Missouri expungement law that went into effect in 2018 makes it easier for many people to do just that.
Here are a few important details of the law you’ll want to keep in mind before speaking with a qualified attorney about your case.
Which Crimes Are Ineligible for Expungement?
Not all offenses qualify for expungement. The following crimes are currently excluded under Missouri law:
- Class A felonies
- Dangerous felonies as defined in SS556.061 RSMo
- Any crime requiring registration as a sex offender
- Felony offense of assault
- Various other crimes embedded within the statute – some of these include felony stealing, certain election offenses, forgery, mortgage fraud, defrauding secured creditors, fraudulent use of a credit device, contaminating a water supply or felon in possession of a firearm
- Traffic violations by individuals with a Commercial Driver’s License
How Does Expungement in Missouri Work?
Your petition for expungement must be filed in the same court in which you were charged or found guilty of charges.
Your petition must name as defendants the following individuals or entities you believe to have records pertaining to your case:
- Law enforcement agencies
- Prosecuting or circuit attorneys
- Municipal prosecuting attorneys
- Central state repositories of criminal records
- Other entities
Defendants have 30 days to object to the expungement, and the court must hold a hearing within 60 days of an objection being filed. If no objection is filed within 30 days of your petition, the court may set a hearing and give reasonable notice to all interested parties.
What Evidence Is Considered in Expungement Cases?
Missouri courts will consider the following forms of evidence when considering a petition for expungement:
- It has been at least seven years for a felony or three years for a misdemeanor since the petitioner completed disposition
- Petitioner has not been found guilty of any other felonies or misdemeanors other than some traffic violations
- Petitioner has satisfied all required obligations related to the relevant charges including fines
- Petitioner has no charges pending
- Petitioner’s habits and conduct indicate that petitioner is not a threat to public safety
- Expungement is consistent with public welfare
Expungement and Job Applications
A successful expungement means that you may legally answer “no” to most employers who ask if you have ever been convicted of a criminal offense.
Be aware that some types of employment still require disclosure of a past conviction or expungement, including:
- State-operated lottery and emergency services provider, including law enforcement agencies
- Federally insured banks, savings institutions or credit unions, or affiliates of such institutions
- Any entity in the business of insurance
- Any employer that is required to exclude applicants with certain criminal convictions
Do you have a prior conviction that may be holding you back as you seek to find the right job for building the new life you seek?
Contact Eng & Woods for a free consultation. Our expungement attorneys will help you determine whether the new expungement law could benefit you and help you navigate the petition process.
October 18, 2018