Having a criminal or arrest record can seriously disrupt your life for years after the initial incident. Arrest records are often available publicly online for friends, family and potential employers to see, and a criminal conviction can disqualify you from certain jobs and housing opportunities. This makes an expungement appealing to many people seeking to overcome the obstacles of prior legal challenges.
There are a few things about expungement that you should know about if you are planning to pursue this option. In Missouri, arrest and conviction records are both eligible for expungement, and the following conditions typically apply to both – though it is best to consult with a legal advisor regarding the specifics of your case.
There are fees
Many people do not realize that there are expenses with applying for and obtaining an expungement. These vary based on the kind of expungement you seek and the item or items that are on your record, but you should be ready for the cost of the process. Interestingly, however, US News reports that these fees may be a violation of the state constitution – so obtaining an attorney is likely your best option for navigating the application.
Laws are changing
It is worth considering, too, the fact that laws regarding expungements are consistently going through revisions and updates. The most recent updates benefit those seeking expungement by expanding the crimes that are eligible for removal from a record. In the future, it is possible that further changes in the law will make it possible for even more people to wipe their records and move on with their lives.
Exceptions to the rules
Though laws are changing, there have consistently been a few exceptional cases that are not eligible for expungement. Crimes involving sex offenses or drinking and driving, for example, may be more difficult, if not impossible to remove from your record. Still, there are options for dealing with prior convictions and arrest records if you consult with a legal representative who can advocate for you.