New Changes on Criminal Expungements in Missouri Coming January 2018
Expungement is the process whereby a person who has been convicted of a crime has that conviction removed from their criminal record. Expungements in of Missouri have, historically, been permitted in very limited circumstances. Beginning January 1, 2018 the process and application of expungement to criminal convictions will be significantly broader than it has been in the past.
While not every individual and every crime will qualify, the following is designed to provide an overview of the crimes that are (or are not) eligible for expungement.
For the purposes of expungement, convictions fall into two categories: alcohol-related driving offenses and all other offenses.
Expungement of Alcohol-related driving offenses
To qualify for an expungement of an alcohol related driving offense a person must meet the following requirements:
- At least ten years has elapsed since the conviction of the offense
- The conviction was for a misdemeanor or ordinance violation
- The offense was the defendant’s first intoxication-related offense
- The person has not been convicted of an alcohol-related driving offense since the first conviction
- The person has had no subsequent alcohol-related enforcement contacts
- There are no pending alcohol related actions at the time of the hearing
- The conviction was not for driving a commercial motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol
Expungement of All Other Criminal Convictions
Not all criminal convictions may be expunged. The following types of offenses are not, and will not, be expungable with the new law:
- Class A felonies
- Any dangerous felony (assault or robbery as examples)
- Any offense requiring registration as a sex offender
- Any felony offense where death is an element of the offense
- Any felony assault or kidnapping
- Any misdemeanor or felony domestic assault.
Expungement of all other criminal convictions may be allowed if a person meets the following requirements:
- At least seven years (since the completion of a felony disposition) or three (since the completion of a misdemeanor disposition) has passed. The time of completion is not measured from the date of the conviction but, rather, from the date the person completed their probation, parole or sentence.
- The person has not been found guilty of any other misdemeanor or felony during the three or seven year period (whichever is applicable) referenced above.
- The person has satisfied all obligations of his or her disposition. This could include serving a sentence of incarceration, paying fines, and/or the successful completion of a term of probation or parole.
- There can be no pending charges against the person.
- The person’s habits and conduct must demonstrate that they are not a threat to public safety.
- The expungement is consistent with the public welfare and the interests of justice.
To be considered for an expungement a person must file a petition in the circuit court of the county where the person was convicted. You may expunge two (2) misdemeanors or one (1) felony during your lifetime.
Expungement and Employment
The fact that a person successfully expunges one (1) or more offense from their record does not mean that they will never have to disclose that they were convicted of a crime. The new law requires that anyone granted an expungement is required to disclose a conviction under certain circumstances when applying for employment or professional licensing. If a profession requires a license, certificate, or permit issued by Missouri the conviction must be disclosed in the application for that license. A conviction must also be disclosed if the individual is applying for employment in the 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.
When applying for other jobs, an applicant who has obtained an expungement may answer “No” as to that expunged offense when asked if they have ever been convicted of a crime. Consult an attorney if you don’t know how to answer that question on an application.
This information is not designed to solicit representation or offer legal advice and does not form the attorney-client relationship.