Missouri Expands Eligibility for Expungement of Criminal Convictions
January 1, 2018, rang in both a new year and new hope for many with a criminal conviction. On New Year’s Day 2018, Missouri Revised Statute Section 610.140 took effect. Section 610.140 substantially increases the number of offenses, violations and infractions eligible for expungement. As part of the expungement, the arrest, plea, trial or conviction may all be expunged.
Nearly any crime is eligible for expungement, unless expressly excluded by Subsection 2 of Section 610.140. Generally speaking, class A felonies, dangerous felonies defined by Missouri Revised Statute Section 556.061, any offense requiring registration as a sex offender, a felony offense of assault, a felony kidnapping conviction, or intoxication related boating or driving offenses cannot be expunged. Some crimes previously eligible for expungement are no longer eligible. Anyone considering filing for expungement should carefully review the list of eligible crimes and consult an attorney for assistance.
The Process for Expungement
Individuals may file for expungement if the offense occurred within the State of Missouri and was prosecuted under the jurisdiction of a Missouri municipal, associate circuit or circuit court. Among the information required by statute, the petition must list all the offenses, violations, and infractions the individual is seeking to have expunged. The petition must be filed in the court in which the person was originally charged or convicted and must name as defendants all law enforcement agencies, courts, prosecuting or circuit attorneys, municipal prosecuting attorneys, central state repositories of criminal records, or others who the petitioner has reason to believe may possess the records subject to expungement for each of the offenses, violations and infractions listed in the petition.
Evidence Considered for Expungement Eligibility
Once a proper petition has been filed, the court may hold a hearing on the appropriateness of granting an expungement. Evidence the court may consider includes:
- The length of time from the date petitioner completed any authorized disposition imposed under the original sentencing (7 years for felonies and 3 years for misdemeanors or infractions);
- The person has not been found guilty of any other misdemeanor or felony;
- The petitioner has satisfied all obligations relating to any such disposition, including payment of fines or restitution;
- The petitioner has no pending charges;
- The petitioner’s habits and conduct demonstrate that the petition is not a threat to the public safety of the state; and
- Expungement is consistent with the public welfare and the interests of justice warrant expungement.
Petitioning for expungement is an important, and potentially, lifechanging event. Completed properly, a petition for expungement can breathe new life into an individual’s economic and personal prospects for success. Without the assistance of counsel, one could end up filing in the wrong court or completing the application improperly. The results of such mistakes or inadvertence can be disastrous. If you are considering petitioning for expungement, you should contact an experienced attorney you can rely on. Contact our office for assistance today.