Sometimes, people make poor choices that haunt them and prevent them from moving on with their lives. For people who have convictions on their record for federal crimes and other serious matters, it may be hard to move forward.
However, there are processes that can help individuals clean their slates and start over. Here are a few key things to understand about rectifying criminal records:
Two options in Missouri
In Missouri, there are two main ways individuals are able to clear their records: record sealing and expungement. Although many may use these terms interchangeably, they are actually two different processes. As the name indicates, when the courts seal a record, they “seal” it, or make it unavailable to public records. On the other hand, an expungement completely removes the offense from the individual’s record.
Eligibility for sealing or expunging criminal records
In many cases, the courts may approve a record seal or closure for misdemeanor charges that are dismissed, cases where the person charged is found not guilty or he or she receives a suspended sentence. Expungements are quite strict as well and are not usually available for violent or serious felonies. A few of the instances in which an expungement may be possible include:
- Drunk driving convictions that are more than 10 years old
- Juvenile alcohol offenses
- Passing a bad check
- Disturbing the peace misdemeanors
These are just a few of the possible charges that may qualify for an expungement. There are many additional options and possibilities.
Filing for an expungement
To obtain an expungement, individuals must file a petition for expungement with the court where the offense occurred, along with a $100 fee. The requesting individual must provide identifying information, such as:
- Social Security number
- License number
- Current address
Along with this information, the filing party must also present the case details. The courts then review the request and make a decision.
This is just a brief overview of a few key aspects of the process for clearing a criminal record. If you or a loved one seek to clear your slate, it is important to truly understand and follow the process exactly.