Expungement of Criminal Record

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On Wednesday, July 13, 2016, Governor Jay Nixon signed Senate Bill 588. That bill allows for a person to petition the court in which that individual was found guilty of a criminal offense to expunge records relating to that offense.

As you may already know, an arrest, plea, trial, or conviction on your record may inhibit you from applying for

loans, securing housing, acquiring employment, voting, and possessing firearms. An expungement of these incidents from your record may provide you with more opportunities and improve your quality of life.

Currently, Section 610.140, R.S.Mo., is the law concerning the expungement of arrests, pleas, trials, and convictions. Under present law, a person must wait 20 years for a felony and 10 years for a misdemeanor before being eligible to file an expungement petition. Further, only the felony offenses of passing a bad check, fraudulently stopping payment of an instrument, or fraudulent use of a credit device or debit device are eligible for expungement.

Senate Bill 588, which will come into effect on January 1, 2018, will allow a person to file a petition for expungement after three years from the finding of guilt for a misdemeanor, ordinance violation, or infraction.

The new law also allows an individual to petition for expungement from their records an arrest for certain types of offenses or violations three years from the date of that arrest, provided that the person has not been charged with and not found guilty of any misdemeanor or felony offense since the date of that arrest.

Additionally, and perhaps more importantly, the new law greatly expands the list of felony offenses capable of expungement. Senate Bill 588 allows an individual to petition for expungement a finding of guilt for a felony seven years from the date of the completion of sentence for that offense.

The petition for expungement must be filed with the court in which the person was charged or found guilty of the offenses sought to be expunged and 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 individual believes possesses the records subject to expungement for each of the offenses, violations, and infractions listed in the petition.

Further, the individual must identify the offense, violation, or infraction for which that person is seeking expungement as well as the approximate date the individual was charged for each offense, violation, or infraction, and the name of the county where the petition was charged for each offense, violation, or infraction, and, if any of the offenses, violations, or infractions occurred in a municipality, the name of the municipality for each offense, violation or infraction.

The person must also provide the case number and name of the court for each offense requested to be expunged.

Assuming the petition is properly filed, that the individual is eligible for expungement, and the Court has ordered that such expungement occur, the person may be entitled to a restoration of certain rights lost as a consequence of the arrest, plea, trial, or conviction.

If you believe you may eligible for expungement or would like to consult with an attorney to determine your eligibility, contact our firm to speak with our Associate Attorney, John G. McIntosh.



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Guest Wednesday, 17 January 2018