Imagine carrying a heavy backpack filled with stones everywhere you go, weighing you down and limiting your opportunities. That’s what it can feel like if you have been convicted of a felony in Missouri. A felony conviction may haunt you for years, affecting various aspects of your life, including employment, housing, and even personal relationships.
But there may be a way to lighten that burden and help you move forward with greater ease through a process called expungement. In this article, we will explore: ‘How long does a felony stay on your record in Missouri?’ and how you can get help with a fresh start.
Does a Felony Ever Go Away in Missouri?
In Missouri, a felony will stay on your criminal record for life if you don’t take steps to resolve it. The good news is that some felonies are eligible for expungement after the passage of time. Missouri’s expungement laws have been revised several times in recent years to make more offenses eligible for expungement sooner.
Expungement is a legal process that allows you to remove certain criminal records from public view, making it as if the crime never happened. This can be particularly helpful when applying for jobs or housing, where a background check may reveal your past felony conviction.
It’s crucial to consult with an attorney in this area of law to determine if your felony conviction qualifies for expungement under Missouri law. While having a felony stay on your record can be daunting, an expungement offers the opportunity to rebuild your life and move forward without being held back by past mistakes.
The Impacts of a Felony on Your Life
You’ll find that a felony can significantly impact your life, making it essential to understand the implications and potential consequences. In Missouri, a felony remains on your criminal record indefinitely unless you go through the expungement process.
This means that your prior conviction will be visible to anyone conducting a background check on you and could affect various aspects of your life:
- Employment opportunities: Employers often conduct background checks, and having a felony on your criminal record may limit your job prospects or result in denial of employment.
- Housing options: Landlords typically run background checks as well, and a prior conviction may make it difficult for you to find housing or lead to rejection from rental applications.
- Education and financial aid: Colleges and universities might deny admission due to a criminal record, while some federal student aid programs disqualify applicants with certain felony convictions.
- Professional licenses: Some professional licensing boards in Missouri require clean criminal records for licensure in healthcare, education, or law enforcement.
Given these potential impacts on life after a felony conviction, it’s crucial to explore avenues for mitigating its effects. The expungement process in Missouri allows eligible individuals to have their criminal records sealed from public view. However, this option is not available for all types of felonies; specific criteria must be met before applying.
If successful, an expunged record would no longer be accessible during background checks by employers or landlords, lessening the negative consequences of having a prior conviction.
Am I Eligible for Expungement?
In Missouri, you may be able to expunge a felony record under certain circumstances. Expungement is the legal process of removing a criminal conviction from your record so it no longer appears on background checks.
However, not all felonies can be expunged, and specific eligibility requirements and waiting periods must be met before you can pursue this option.
For most felonies, you must wait at least three years after completing your sentence before you can apply for expungement. Additionally, during this waiting period, you must not have any other misdemeanor or felony convictions and must have paid any restitution ordered by the court.
Even still, some serious crimes cannot be removed from your record, including but not limited to:
- Class A felony offenses
- Crimes requiring registration as a sex offender
- Any offense where death is an element of the offense
- Felony assault
- Misdemeanor or felony offense of domestic violence
- Felony kidnapping
If you meet these criteria and believe your case is eligible for an expungement in Missouri, consult with an experienced attorney who can guide you through the process and help clear your path toward a brighter future without the burden of a lingering felony on your record.
How Does the Felony Expungement Process Work?
The expungement process involves filing a petition for expungement with the court that originally handled your case. This petition must include specific information about your conviction and details on why you believe your record should be expunged.
After submitting the petition, you may be required to attend a hearing before a judge, who will decide whether to grant or deny your request for an expunged record. If granted, all public references to your conviction will be removed from official databases, restoring your reputation and allowing you to move forward without the burden of a criminal past.
Working With a Missouri Expungement Lawyer
Considering the complexities of the expungement process, it’s wise to consult a Missouri expungement attorney who can guide you through each step and help maximize your chances of success.
Working closely with a criminal defense law firm, like our team at Rose Legal Services, throughout the process may better your chances of having your felony removed from your record and moving forward with a clean slate.
Our lawyers can assess your eligibility for expungement, gather necessary documentation, file petitions on your behalf, and represent you at any required hearings. Contact us today to discuss your case.