In 2018, Missouri law changed its expungement process and now allows the courts to expunge as many as 1,900 crimes from convicted individuals’ records. The expungement process serves as a second chance for individuals who have completed their sentences and seek a clean slate.
For those seeking expungement of their records, it is important to understand the process to help them navigate this path more confidently.
First, to seek expungement in Missouri, an individual must establish their eligibility. Not all crimes are eligible for expungement. Some crimes, such as violent crimes, sex offenses and crimes that involve a death, are not eligible for expungement. Also, the applicant must have completed their sentence or probation and have no other pending charges.
Additionally, a certain period must have passed since the completion of the sentence or probation. For misdemeanors, the waiting period is three years, while for felonies, it is seven years.
File a petition
The next step involves filing a petition for expungement in the court in the county where the arrest or conviction occurred. The petition must contain specific information, including the applicant’s name, date of birth, address at the time of the arrest and details about the offense, such as the date and location.
Notify relevant parties
After filing the petition, the applicant must serve all relevant parties. These parties include the Missouri State Highway Patrol, the local law enforcement agency involved in the arrest, the prosecuting attorney and any other state agencies that may have the records.
Court hearing and decision
Once all parties receive notice, the court sets a hearing date. During the hearing, the court will consider whether the petitioner’s behavior and reformation warrant the expungement and whether expungement is consistent with the public welfare.
Navigating the expungement process requires patience and diligence. While it is a complex process, successful expungement can provide individuals with a way to rebuild their life and move on without their crimes negatively affecting them.