Whenever the New Year hits, it ignites an energy in folks to “reinvent” themselves or start better habits. Resolutions abound: Cutting back on drinking, working out more, organizing your life, etc.
As a St. Louis criminal defense attorney, I find this is a great time to remind folks that as they plan to start 2021 with a clean slate, they should also consider their criminal record.
Whether it’s removing old Missouri driver’s license points or a full-blown expungement – The People’s Counsel is here to help!
What Is An Expungement?
First things first, let’s break down the legal jargon.
In Missouri, expungement is the process of closing all records of a conviction, guilty plea, or arrest on someone’s record so that it can no longer be accessed by the public and will not appear on most background checks.
If an expungement is successful, only certain agencies—including law enforcement and the court system—will be able to view the expunged records.
Expunged records are considered “confidential,” and are only available to very limited agencies or by court order.
So, unless you’re applying to join the FBI or another agency that requires a security clearance, it’s in your best interest to have any eligible records expunged before your start your “new year, new me” job search.
Do I Qualify For Expungement?
In Missouri, the following types of records are eligible for expungement, subject to certain exceptions:
- Records of arrest;
- Conviction records;
- First-time convictions for intoxication-related driving and boating offenses; and
- Juvenile records.
Missouri law allows for expungement of many misdemeanors and non-Class A felonies, subject to a lengthy list of exceptions for violent offenses, sex offenses, and other more serious crimes.
There are also some restrictions on expungement of driving offenses involving alcohol or by individuals holding commercial driver’s licenses.
For a full list of crimes eligible for expungement, see our expungement in Missouri resources.
Recent Changes In Missouri Expungement Laws
The list of eligible offenses for expungement in Missouri was recently expanded.
The law expanded in 2019 to include stealing if the offender has no new, subsequent convictions (see RSMO 610.140).
Missouri also recently made forgery, fraudulent use of a credit card, first-degree property damage, and a few other offenses eligible for expungement as well.
What Do I Need to Do To Get My Records Expunged?
First, you’ll want to make sure that you are eligible to get your records expunged.
You can do that by either calling the local authority that arrested and/or charged or by calling a trusted criminal defense attorney. They will know by the type of crime committed, when it was committed, and your current record, if you are eligible.
In most jurisdictions, there is an expungement filing charge. In Missouri, that fee is typically $250.
To make sure there are no errors, most people hire an attorney at either an hourly or project-based rate to draft and file the petition for expungement.
Get Your Record Expunged Today!
At The People’s Counsel, we have flexible billing so we can help clients who need it most.
To help start off 2021 right, the first five people to call and schedule an expungement consult who mention our blog post on expungement will get their filing fee paid for by The People’s Counsel!
The St. Louis expungement lawyers at The People’s Counsel have successfully expunged convictions and arrest records all across the state of Missouri.
If you or a loved one have had your life affected by a criminal conviction or arrest, please contact us for a free consultation at 314-669-6464 or learn more at thepeoplescounsel.com/expungement-in-missouri.