Expunging Criminal records in Missouri

I get phone calls all the time from people trying to hire me to have their criminal records expunged. Until now, I have always had to give the sad news that–with the exception of some ten-year-old DWI convictions– “They don’t do that here in Missouri.”  With the signing of HB 1647  last Tuesday, Missouri’s criminal expungement laws have been expanded.

The new law–chiefly meant to restore the right to possess firearms–goes into effect on August 28, 2012 and allows for the expungement of some felony and misdemeanor criminal records. The felonies must be over twenty years old and misdemeanors ten years old with no other criminal offenses (excluding traffic) committed during those time periods. Here is a rough list of crimes which may be expunged:

Felonies and Misdemeanors:

  • Passing a bad check
  • Fraudulently stopping payment of an instrument
  • fraudulent use of a credit device or debit device 

 Misdemeanors only:

  • Negligent setting of a fire
  • Tampering in the second degree (joyriding among other things)
  • Property damage
  • Trespass
  • Gambling
  • Peace disturbance
  • Drunkeness/Drinking in schools, churches and courthouses

Getting convictions expunged requires the filing of a petition in the court in which the person was found guilty.  The petition must name as defendants every state agency that may possess the conviction records. On top of filing and service fees, the new law tacks on an extra $100 filing fee. There must be a court hearing and a finding that the petitioner meets every criteria, including full payment of any restitution ordered; and that the “circumstances and behavior of the petitioner warrant the expungement;” and that the expungement is “consistent with the public welfare.”

Although a person is not required to hire a lawyer to obtain an expungement, most people will want an attorney to file the lawsuit and conduct an evidenciary hearing. Despite the time and cost, many people may find a criminal expungement worth pursuing.

3 thoughts on “Expunging Criminal records in Missouri

  1. michael bates says:

    I have felonies that are well over ten years old and done all my time in prison and parole. I’ve held the same job for over 5 yrs and now getting ready to graduate trade school for heating and cooling. needless to say im not the same person I was when I was 17. the law about expungement is wrong. I can’t even get an apartment or good job due to my past mistakes.by the time my felonies will be 20 yrs old I will be over 40 whos going to hire me at that age.

    • Douglas A Mitchell says:

      Have you ever heard of someone getting a record check, after they had given there social security number to the authorities, and all the other info which they need, to get the right persons record check. And, still after everything matches up, then given the record check. And, then the police officer or someone in the records room with the police dept, tells that person there getting there information from the FBI, which is where they get all there info on a record check. And then it turns out to be incorrect info. Have you heard of that? And if so, what can someone do about that? Please respond back on this immediately. Thank you.

      • Randy England says:

        I would want an official records check before I raised any issues. One might check out the MO State Highway patrol site: https://www.machs.mshp.dps.mo.gov/MACHSFP/home.html. After that, if something does not look right, it would be time to check the court record that does not seem right and perhaps contact a lawyer in the county where there seems to be a problem.

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