Starting January 1, 2018, many Missourians will become eligible for expungement of their criminal records. In 2016, Missouri Legislature signed new criminal record expungement rules into law. These rules allow for the expungement of most misdemeanors and many felonies, including drug offenses.
In the past, only very few crimes were eligible for expungement. Expungement is the process of sealing a criminal record. In other words, it is the process of preventing your criminal record from being viewed by the general public. Under the new law, only rare circumstances would require an individual to disclose an expunged criminal record.
Past criminal records often can exclude someone from being eligible for employment, loans, and many government provided benefits. While the expungement process does not work as a pardon, it does begin to return the individual back to the position they were in before they were arrested for their criminal offense. If you have questions or concerns if a crime is eligible for expungement, please don’t hesitate to contact our office.
Misdemeanor Expungement Process
In a misdemeanor case, you’ll be eligible for expungement three years from the close of your case. A case closes when you have paid off your fines, completed probation, or completed a jail sentence. If you completed probation on January 1 of 2014, for example, you would have been eligible for expungement three years after that date, or January 1, 2017. If your criminal record shows a misdemeanor crime that is older than five or six years, it is likely eligible for expungement.
Felony Expungement Process
In the past, very few felonies were eligible for expungement. Missouri’s new legislature opens the door for many more offenses to be eligible for expungement; most notably, drug offenses. In order for a felony to be eligible for expungement, seven years must pass after the completion of your case. Completion of a felony case occurs when you’ve served your jail/prison term or completed probation. The felony expungement law is much more limited than the misdemeanor law, so it is important to contact an attorney to see whether or not you are eligible to expunge a past felony conviction.
Missouri’s new expungement process will open doors for many people with a past felony conviction. It will allow those with a criminal record to gain access to opportunities that they were previously denied. Not everyone will be eligible for an expungement, but many will have the opportunity to seal their criminal record. This new legislation goes into effect in 2018, and it is designed to free people from the weight of their criminal convictions. Our office is happy to address any questions or concerns you may have about the expungement process; don’t hesitate to contact us.