Expungement: Felonies, Misdemeanors and Infractions
Missouri has changed its expungement law. The phone has been ringing with questions from excited and hopeful people asking about expunging felonies, misdemeanors and infractions. Missouri has always allowed for the expungement of certain offenses, but there are now new opportunities to expunge criminal convictions or guilty pleas unlike before. Expunging felonies, misdemeanors and infractions may help people obtain jobs or remove a stigma a person has experienced.
Expunging felonies, misdemeanors and infractions make a person’s arrest records, court records, guilty pleas and convictions confidential so that the records are not available to the public, except in very limited circumstances. Not every felony, misdemeanor and infraction is eligible for expungement. There are still limitations on the types of offenses that may be expunged.
Requirements to expunge a criminal record include, but are not limited to, the following:
(1) It has been at least seven years for a felony and three years for a misdemeanor since the person completed probation or the sentence;
(2) The person has not been found guilty of any other felonies or misdemeanors;
(3) The person has paid the prior fine, court costs or restitution;
(4) The person does not have charges pending.
Once the determination is made that a person is eligible for expungement, then the petition must be prepared. The petition requires detailed information about the person’s criminal record. The petition is then filed. Once all the appropriate persons have been served, the court will schedule a hearing. The fact that a person files the petition does not automatically mean its granted. The court must also find that the person’s habits and conduct demonstrate the person is not a threat to public safety, and that the expungement is consistent with the public welfare.