If you’ve ever applied for a job or filled out a housing application, you’ve likely encountered the question, “Have you ever been arrested for or convicted of a criminal offense?” Those with an arrest or conviction in their past can have a harder time navigating typical life changes like these. One way to make the process easier is to get the arrest or conviction record expunged.
Petitioning for Expungement Frequently Asked Questions
What Is Expungement?
Expungement is the process of sealing records of an arrest or criminal conviction. Once the expungement process is complete, you do not have to legally disclose that arrest or conviction information; you can honestly answer no to the question of conviction (unless another conviction occurs).
How Does It Work?
Each state determines whether criminal records can be removed and how to go about doing it.
Expungement of Guilty Pleas in Missouri
Arrests and guilty pleas that are the most commonly expunged in Missouri are first offenses of Minor in Possession (MIP), DWI, and some property crimes.
Expungement of Arrests
Missouri law allows expungement in arrests in any type of case if certain criteria is met, but only if there was no guilty plea to the charge for which the person is arrested or an amendment from that charge. Any guilty plea after the arrest prevents expungement in this scenario. The list of crimes that can be expunged for arrests without a guilty plea is much greater than the list of crimes that can be expunged with a guilty plea.
Evidence Required for Expungement
The Expungement Petitioner must prove the following elements at an expungement hearing:
- An appropriate amount of time has elapsed since the time the person completed the sentence of imprisonment and the period of probation or parole.
- Not found guilty of misdemeanor or felony during that time, not including minor traffic offenses.
- Restitution paid if ordered in underlying case
- Circumstances & behavior of petitioner warrant expungement.
- Expungement is consistent with “public welfare”.
If Expungement Petition Is Granted
The Missouri Central repository sends the expunge order to the FBI. All rights are restored with some exceptions that you will need to discuss with your attorney.
If Expungement Petition Is Denied
If an expungement petition is denied for failing to meet the criteria for expungement, then the expungement petitioner must wait one year from the date of the dismissal of the expungement petition to refile a new expungement petition.
Checklist for Expungement of Guilty Pleas or Certain Convictions
What Can You Expunge?
Some types of arrests, pleas, trials or convictions; a petitioner can seek more than
one offense to be expunged in the same petition.
Where to File?
The county where plea/conviction occurred; even if municipal case.
Who to name as defendants in Petition for Expungement?
All law enforcement agencies, courts, prosecutors, central state repositories of criminal records, or anyone who has possession of records subject to expungement.
When Can a Petitioner Qualify?
Three years after a misdemeanor or infraction, 7 years after a felony, and 10 years after a DWI — the time period starts after the date that imprisonment or probation ends.
The most common engagements involve first offenses of Minor in Possession (MIP), DWI, and some property crimes. For further information about the types of offenses that qualify for expungement, contact Benjamin Law Firm.