Missouri made several significant changes to its expungement laws that became effective January 1, 2018. Consequently, many people with criminal records in Missouri are now eligible for expungement – even if they were not previously eligible.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation maintains a central database of criminal records. By the FBI’s standards, 29.5% of American adults have a criminal record – and that number does not even include most misdemeanors. If misdemeanors are counted, it’s likely that 40% or more of Americans have a criminal record of some kind. A criminal record can include a mere arrest, or even just being fingerprinted – even if the person is not charged or convicted of a crime. Many blemishes on criminal records are for petty offenses, including marijuana tickets, bad checks, and even littering.
At Rose Legal Services, we have seen criminal records for minor offenses come back to haunt many of our clients, including teachers, nurses, doctors, and financial advisors. Many unions now conduct background checks as a condition of admission. And it seems that more and more employers are conducting comprehensive background checks – even for jobs that do not require professional licenses. Unfortunately, many people are denied jobs for youthful indiscretions that resulted in nothing more than a fine or “slap on the wrist” – and sometimes even for a case that got dismissed or was never filed at all.
These concerns led the Missouri General Assembly to provide a new method for expungement. To be eligible, seven years must pass since completion of the sentence for a felony (three years for a misdemeanor), and the person seeking an expungement cannot have been found guilty of any additional offenses during that time. Not all offenses are eligible for expungement, and courts are required to conduct an evidentiary hearing to determine whether the person’s “habits and conduct demonstrate that [he or she] is not a threat to the public safety of the state” and that “expungement is consistent with the public welfare and the interests of justice warrant the expungement.”
At Rose Legal Services in St. Louis, criminal defense attorney W. Scott Rose has been pleased to represent many deserving clients in successfully obtaining an expungement since the new law went into effect. Almost all such clients needed the expungement for a professional license or employment purposes. One successful client obtained an expungement of a criminal conviction from the 1970s because he “wanted to restore his good name.” If you need to expunge a record of arrest, finding of guilt, or conviction in Missouri, call Rose Legal Services at (314) 462-0200 for a free consultation today.