You can now begin petitioning courts to expunge old criminal convictions under a Missouri expungement bill (SB 588) that was signed by Governor Jay Nixon on July 13, 2016!
The new Missouri expungement statute went into effect on January 1, 2018.
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The Expungement Missouri Cheat Sheet
If you’re applying for a criminal record expungement in Missouri, here’s what you need to know:
- Not all crimes in Missouri can be expunged under the new statute!
- The petition must be filed in the court where you were charged or found guilty of any offenses, violations, or infractions.
- You must name all law enforcement agencies, courts, municipal prosecuting attorneys, state repositories of criminal records or others you believe may possess the records for each item you are seeking to have expunged.
- There is likely a period of time after a conviction you must wait before applying for an expungement. The statute implies that you must wait seven (7) years for a felony and three (3) years for a misdemeanor, but it does not explicitly demand this, so there may be hope for procuring it sooner than expected.
- The State has 30 days to file objections to your petition and a court must hold a hearing within 60 days following the objection or 30 days after filing if no objection.
- There is a $250 application fee, unless the applicant is certified to be a poor person
If you are successful, you will be allowed to maintain that you have never been convicted of the crime(s) that were expunged.
Table of Contents
- Expungement in Missouri Overview
- List of Crimes in Missouri that Can’t be Expunged
- Background on Missouri Expungement
- Full Legislation Text: SB 588
Expungement in Missouri Overview
Senate Bill 588 passed both houses of the Missouri Legislature in the spring of 2016 and was signed by Governor Jay Nixon on July 13, 2016. It went into effect on January 1, 2018 and many Missourians for the first time will have the opportunity to finally shed themselves of prior convictions.
It won’t help those who have been convicted of child pornography or violent crime, but for thousands, it will be a source of real relief.
The particulars of the new Missouri expungement law include:
a. Petitions for expungement may be filed in any Missouri court in which such person was charged or found guilty.
b. Petitioners must list all offenses that he or she is seeking to have expunged.
c. Convictions that cannot be expunged are (i) Class A felony offenses; (ii) dangerous felonies as defined in section 556.061 of Missouri statutes; (iii) any offense that requires registration as a sex offender; (iii) any felony where death is an element of the offense; any felony offense of assault; (iiii) any misdemeanor or felony of domestic assault; (iiiii) or felony offense of kidnapping and a number of other offenses that fall broadly under the category of crimes against persons.
d. Also excluded from expungement are intoxication-related offenses. First time DWI offenders can still seek expungement in Missouri after 10 years without additional alcohol-related convictions under section 577.054.
e. Violation of laws regulating operation of a motor vehicle by an individual who holds a commercial driver’s license cannot be expunged.
f. Although it doesn’t appear that that there is a time period requirement that must pass before applying, a court “may consider” if seven years have passed in felony cases or three years in misdemeanor cases. Lack of subsequent criminal record, payment of restitution from past convictions and “the petitioner’s habits and conduct” showing that he or she is not a threat to society may also be considered.
g. The clerk of the court must give notice to the prosecuting attorney, circuit attorney or municipal court prosecuting of the appropriate court when a petition for expungement in Missouri has been filed. Once notified, the prosecuting authority has thirty days to object to the expungement.
h. Expungement of arrest records cannot occur sooner than three years after an arrest.
i. Once an order of expungement is entered the underlying court file must be closed.
j. A person who has been granted an order of expungement may, with regard to the expunged conviction, answer “no” to an employer inquiry as to whether the applicant has ever been convicted of a crime unless the employer is required to exclude certain people with criminal convictions from employment. If a law mandates the employer to not hire convicted offenders the applicant must answer that they have been convicted of a crime.
k. A Missouri expungement filing fee of $250.00 must accompany a petition to expunge unless the applicant is certified to be a poor person.
Does this mean I can get an expungement in Missouri?
A close reading of the Missouri expungement legislation (Senate Bill 588) reveals that there are still many impediments to expungement but for crimes against property and drug crimes there is hope. Likewise, to those unfamiliar with the process, there are pitfalls that can discourage applicants. Obviously, the process is defined by law and who better to understand and negotiate its provisions than a lawyer.
We anticipate there will be a high demand for this service and have already begun studying the law to best see how we can take advantage of its provisions for clients.
Our team can help you quickly assess if you are eligible for expungement.Call Now Email Now
List of Crimes in Missouri that Can’t be Expunged
If you have questions about whether your criminal conviction is eligible for expungement, the process, or would simply like an experienced trial attorney to handle it all for you, contact us.
- Any class A felony offense;
- Any dangerous felony as that term is defined in section 556.061;
- Any offense that requires registration as a sex offender;
- Any felony offense where death is an element of the offense;
- Any felony offense of assault; misdemeanor or felony offense of domestic assault; or felony offense of kidnapping;
- Any offense listed, or previously listed, in chapter 566 or section 105.454, 105.478, 115.631, 130.028, 188.030, 188.080, 191.677, 194.425, 217.360*, 217.385, 334.245, 375.991, 389.653, 455.085, 455.538, 557.035, 565.084**, 565.085**, 565.086**, 565.095**, 565.120, 565.130, 565.156, 565.200**, 565.214*, 566.093, 566.111, 566.115, 568.020, 568.030, 568.032, 568.045, 568.060, 568.065, 568.080**, 568.090**, 568.175, 569.030**, 569.035*, 569.040, 569.050, 569.055, 569.060, 569.065, 569.067*, 569.072**, 569.100, 569.160, 570.025, 570.030, 570.090, 570.100, 570.130, 570.180, 570.223, 570.224, 570.310, 571.020, 571.030, 571.060, 571.063, 571.070, 571.072, 571.150, 574.070, 574.105, 574.115, 574.120, 574.130, 575.040, 575.095, 575.153, 575.155, 575.157, 575.159, 575.195, 575.200, 575.210, 575.220, 575.230, 575.240, 575.350*, 575.353, 577.078, 577.703, 577.706, 578.008**, 578.305**, 578.310**, or 632.520;
- Any offense eligible for expungement under section 577.054** or 610.130;
- Any intoxication-related traffic or boating offense as defined in section 577.001, or any offense of operating an aircraft with an excessive blood alcohol content or while in an intoxicated condition;
- Any ordinance violation that is the substantial equivalent of any offense that is not eligible for expungement under this section; and
- Any violations of any state law or county or municipal ordinance regulating the operation of motor vehicles when committed by an individual who has been issued a commercial driver’s license or is required to possess a commercial driver’s license issued by this state or any other state.
Background on Missouri Expungement
For at least the past four decades there have been no good answers for those seeking to expunge criminal convictions. Attorneys in Missouri, except in very limited circumstances, had very little to offer offenders who wanted to expunge a criminal conviction.
Perhaps more than any other area of inquiry our attorneys receive, people want to know if they can expunge misdemeanor or felony convictions. Oftentimes, the calls come from individuals who have been disqualified from employment or from people who are just seeking to restore their own sense of dignity and worth.
Missouri’s previous expungement law was limited to just a few circumstances such as felony and misdemeanor convictions for passing a bad check or fraudulent use of a credit or debit device. Some oddball misdemeanor offenses like negligent burning or exploding, gambling, private peace disturbance, first-degree trespass and the serious offense of being drunk in a church or schoolhouse all qualify as seldom charged but expungement eligible offenses under Missouri’s previous expungement statute. B and C misdemeanors along with first-time DWI convictions after 10 years of good behavior also qualify.
The Effect on other Missouri laws
One area that will likely see some attention is Missouri’s statute that permits expungement of arrests.
Currently, section 610.122 of the Missouri Statutes allows expungement of arrest records if the arrest was based upon false information and there is no probable cause to believe the individual committed the offense, no charges were pursued as a result of the arrest and the subject of the arrest did not receive a suspended imposition of sentence. Because actual convictions can be expunged under the new law it seems probable that the qualifying list of arrests that can be expunged will be expanded.
Hopefully, the Missouri Legislature will sort out those concerns in future legislation.
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SENATE BILL NOS. 588, 603 & 942
98TH GENERAL ASSEMBLY
To repeal sections 488.650 and 610.140, RSMo, and to enact in lieu thereof two new sections relating to petitions for the expungement of records, with a delayed effective date.
Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Missouri, as follows:
Section A. Sections 488.650 and 610.140, RSMo, are repealed and two new sections enacted in lieu thereof, to be known as sections 488.650 and 610.140, to read as follows:
488.650. There shall be assessed as costs a surcharge in the amount of [one] two hundred fifty dollars on all petitions for expungement filed under the provisions of section 610.140. The judge may waive the surcharge if the petitioner is found by the judge to be indigent and unable to pay the costs. Such surcharge shall be collected and disbursed by the clerk of the court as provided by sections 488.010 to 488.020. Moneys collected from this surcharge shall be payable to the general revenue fund.
610.140. 1. Notwithstanding any other provision of law and subject to the provisions of this section, any person may apply to any court in which such person was charged or found guilty of any [of the] offenses [specified in subsection 2 of this section], violations, or infractions for an order to expunge [recordations] records of such arrest, plea, trial, or conviction. Subject to the limitations of subsection 12 of this section, a person may apply to have one or more offenses, violations, or infractions expunged if such offense, violation, or infraction occurred within the state of Missouri and was prosecuted under the jurisdiction of a Missouri municipal, associate
EXPLANATION–Matter enclosed in bold-faced brackets [thus] in this bill is not enacted and is intended to be omitted in the law.
circuit, or circuit court, so long as such person lists all the offenses, violations, and infractions he or she is seeking to have expunged in the [same] petition and so long as all such offenses, violations, and infractions are [eligible] not excluded under subsection 2 of this section. If the offenses, violations, or infractions were charged as counts in the same indictment or information or were committed as part of the same course of criminal conduct, the person may include all the related offenses, violations, and infractions in the petition, regardless of the limits of subsection 12 of this section, and the petition shall only count as a petition for expungement of the highest level violation or offense contained in the petition for the purpose of determining future eligibility for expungement.
- [The following offenses are eligible to be expunged when such offenses occurred within the state of Missouri and were prosecuted under the jurisdiction of a Missouri municipal associate or circuit court:
(1) Any felony or misdemeanor offense of passing a bad check under 570.120, fraudulently stopping payment of an instrument under 570.125, or fraudulent use of a credit device or debit device under section 570.130;
(2) Any misdemeanor offense of sections 569.065, 569.067, 569.090, subdivision (1) of subsection 1 of section 569.120, sections 569.140, 569.145, 30 572.020, 574.020, or 574.075; or
(3) Any class B or C misdemeanor offense of section 574.010.] The following offenses, violations, and infractions shall not be eligible for expungement under this section:
(1) Any class A felony offense;
(2) Any dangerous felony as that term is defined in section
(3) Any offense that requires registration as a sex offender;
(4) Any felony offense where death is an element of the offense;
(5) Any felony offense of assault; misdemeanor or felony offense
of domestic assault; or felony offense of kidnapping;
(6) Any offense listed, or previously listed, in chapter 566 or
section 105.454, 105.478, 115.631, 130.028, 188.030, 188.080, 191.677,
578.305, 578.310, or 632.520;
(7) Any offense eligible for expungement under section 577.054 or 610.130;
(8) Any intoxication-related traffic or boating offense as defined in section 577.001, or any offense of operating an aircraft with an excessive blood alcohol content or while in an intoxicated condition;
(9) Any ordinance violation that is the substantial equivalent of any offense that is not eligible for expungement under this section; and
(10) Any violations of any state law or county or municipal ordinance regulating the operation of motor vehicles when committed by an individual who has been issued a commercial driver’s license or is required to possess a commercial driver’s license issued by this state or any other state.
- The petition shall name as defendants all law enforcement agencies, courts, prosecuting or circuit attorneys, municipal prosecuting attorneys, central state repositories of criminal records, or others who the petitioner has reason to believe may possess the records subject to expungement for each of the offenses, violations, and infractions listed in the petition. The court’s order of expungement shall not affect any person or entity not named as a defendant in the action.
- The petition shall [be dismissed if it does not] include the following information:
(1) The petitioner’s:
(a) Full name;
(d) Driver’s license number, if applicable; and
(e) Current address;
(2) Each offense [charged against the petitioner], violation, or infraction for which the petitioner is requesting expungement;
(3) The approximate date the petitioner was [arrested] charged for each offense, violation, or infraction; and
(4) The name of the county where the petitioner was [arrested] charged for each offense, violation, or infraction and if any of the offenses, violations, or infractions occurred in a municipality, the name of the municipality for each offense, violation, or infraction; and
(5) [The name of the agency that arrested the petitioner for each offense;
(6)] The case number and name of the court for each offense[; and
(7) Petitioner’s fingerprints on a standard fingerprint card at the time of filing a petition for expungement which will be forwarded to the central repository for the sole purpose of positively identifying the petitioner].
- The clerk of the court shall give notice of the filing of the petition to the office of the prosecuting attorney, circuit attorney, or municipal prosecuting attorney that prosecuted the offenses, violations, or infractions listed in the petition. If the prosecuting attorney, circuit attorney, or municipal prosecuting attorney objects to the petition for expungement, he or she shall do so in writing within thirty days after receipt of service. Unless otherwise agreed upon by the parties, the court shall hold a hearing within sixty days after any written objection is filed, giving reasonable notice of the hearing to the petitioner. If no objection has been filed within thirty days after receipt of service, the court may set a hearing on the matter [no sooner than thirty days from the filing of the petition] and shall give reasonable notice of the hearing to each entity named in the petition. At [the] any hearing, the court may accept evidence and hear testimony on, and may consider, the following criteria for each of the offenses, violations, or infractions listed in the petition for expungement:
(1) It has been at least [twenty] seven years if the offense is a felony, or at least [ten] three years if the offense is a misdemeanor, municipal offense, or infraction, [since the person making the application completed:
(a) Any sentence of imprisonment; or
(b) Any period of probation or parole] from the date the petitioner completed any authorized disposition imposed under section 557.011 for each offense, violation, or infraction listed in the petition;
(2) The person has not been found guilty of [a] any other misdemeanor or felony, not including violations of the traffic regulations provided under chapters 304 and 307, during the time period specified for the underlying offense, violation, or infraction in subdivision (1) of this subsection;
(3) The person has [paid any amount of restitution ordered by the court] satisfied all obligations relating to any such disposition, including the payment of any fines or restitution;
(4) The [circumstances and behavior of the petitioner warrant the expungement] person does not have charges pending; [and]
(5) The petitioner’s habits and conduct demonstrate that the petitioner is not a threat to the public safety of the state; and
(6) The expungement is consistent with the public welfare and the interests of justice warrant the expungement.
A pleading by the petitioner that such petitioner meets the requirements of subdivisions (5) and (6) of this subsection shall create a rebuttable presumption that the expungement is warranted so long as the criteria contained in subdivisions (1) to (4) of this subsection are otherwise satisfied. The burden shall shift to the prosecuting attorney, circuit attorney, or municipal prosecuting attorney to rebut the presumption. A victim of an offense, violation, or infraction listed in the petition shall have an opportunity to be heard at any hearing held under this section, and the court may make a determination based solely on such victim’s testimony.
- A petition to expunge records related to an arrest for an eligible offense, violation, or infraction may be made in accordance with the provisions of this section to a court of competent jurisdiction in the county where the petitioner was arrested no earlier than three years from the date of arrest; provided that, during such time, the petitioner has not been charged and the petitioner has not been found guilty of any misdemeanor or felony offense.
- If the court determines [at the conclusion of the hearing] that such person meets all the criteria set forth in subsection 5 of this section for each of the offenses, violations, or infractions listed in the petition for expungement, the court [may] shall enter an order of expungement. In all cases under this section, the court shall issue an order of expungement or dismissal within six months of the filing of the petition. A copy of the order of expungement shall be provided to [each entity named in the petition] the petitioner and each entity possessing records subject to the order, and, upon receipt of the order, each entity shall [destroy] close any record in its possession relating to any offense, violation, or infraction listed in the petition, in the manner established by section 610.120. [If destruction of the record is not feasible because of the permanent nature of the record books, such record entries shall be blacked out. Entries of a record ordered expunged shall be removed from all electronic files maintained with the state of Missouri, except for the files of the court.] The records and files maintained in any administrative or court proceeding in a municipal, associate, or circuit court for any offense, infraction, or violation ordered expunged under this section shall be confidential and only available to the parties or by order of the court for good cause shown. The central repository shall request the Federal Bureau of Investigation to expunge the records from its files.
[7.] 8. The order shall not limit any of the petitioner’s rights that were restricted as a collateral consequence of such person’s criminal record, and such rights shall be restored upon issuance of the order of expungement. Except as otherwise provided under this section, the effect of such order shall be to restore such person to the status he or she occupied prior to such arrests, pleas, trials, or convictions as if such events had never taken place. No person as to whom such order has been entered shall be held thereafter under any provision of law to be guilty of perjury or otherwise giving a false statement by reason of his or her failure to recite or acknowledge such arrests, pleas, trials, convictions, or expungement in response to an inquiry made of him or her and no such inquiry shall be made for information relating to an expungement, except the petitioner shall disclose the expunged offense, violation, or infraction to any court when asked or upon being charged with any subsequent offense, violation, or infraction. The expunged offense, violation, or infraction may be considered a prior offense in determining a sentence to be imposed for any subsequent offense that the person is found guilty of committing.
[8.] 9. Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection  8 of this section to the contrary, a person granted an expungement shall disclose any expunged offense, violation, or infraction when the disclosure of such information is necessary to complete any application for:
(1) A license, certificate, or permit issued by this state to practice such individual’s profession;
(2) Any license issued under chapter 313 or permit issued under chapter 571; [or]
(3) Paid or unpaid employment with an entity licensed under chapter 313, any state-operated lottery, or any emergency services provider, including any law enforcement agency;
(4) Employment with any federally insured bank or savings institution or credit union or an affiliate of such institution or credit union for the purposes of compliance with 12 U.S.C. Section 1829 and 12 U.S.C. Section 1785;
(5) Employment with any entity engaged in the business of insurance or any insurer for the purpose of complying with 18 U.S.C. Section 1033, 18 U.S.C. Section 1034, or other similar law which requires an employer engaged in the business of insurance to exclude applicants with certain criminal convictions from employment; or
(6) Employment with any employer that is required to exclude applicants with certain criminal convictions from employment due to federal or state law, including corresponding rules and regulations. An employer shall notify an applicant of the requirements under subdivisions (4) to (6) of this subsection. Notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary, an expunged offense, violation, or infraction shall not be grounds for automatic disqualification of an applicant, but may be a factor for denying employment, or a professional license, certificate, or permit; except that, an offense, violation, or infraction expunged under the provisions of this section may be grounds for automatic disqualification if the application is for employment under subdivisions (4) to (6) of this subsection.
[9.] 10. A person who has been granted an expungement of records pertaining to a misdemeanor or felony offense, an ordinance violation, or an infraction may answer “no” to an employer’s inquiry into whether the person has ever been convicted of a crime if, after the granting of the expungement, the person has no public record of a misdemeanor or felony offense, an ordinance violation, or an infraction. The person, however, shall answer such an inquiry affirmatively and disclose his or her criminal convictions, including any offense or violation expunged under this section or similar law, if the employer is required to exclude applicants with certain criminal convictions from employment due to federal or state law, including corresponding rules and regulations.
- If the court determines that [such person] the petitioner has not met the criteria for any of the offenses, violations, or infractions listed in the petition for expungement or the petitioner has knowingly provided false information in the petition, the court shall enter an order dismissing the petition. Any person whose petition for expungement has been dismissed by the court for failure to meet the criteria set forth in subsection 5 of this section may not refile another petition until a year has passed since the date of filing for the previous petition.
[10.] 12. A person may be granted more than one expungement under this section provided that [no person shall be granted more than one order of expungement from the same court. Nothing contained in this section shall prevent the court from maintaining records to ensure that an individual has only one petition for expungement granted by such court under this section] during his or her lifetime, the total number of offenses, violations, or infractions for which orders of expungement are granted to the person shall not exceed the following limits:
(1) Not more than two misdemeanor offenses or ordinance violations that have an authorized term of imprisonment; and
(2) Not more than one felony offense. A person may be granted expungement under this section for any number of infractions. Nothing in this section shall prevent the court from maintaining records to ensure that an individual has not exceeded the limitations of this subsection. Nothing in this section shall be construed to limit or impair in any way the subsequent use of any record expunged under this section of any arrests or findings of guilt by a law enforcement agency, criminal justice agency, prosecuting attorney, circuit attorney, or municipal prosecuting attorney, including its use as a prior offense, violation, or infraction.
- The court shall make available a form for pro se petitioners seeking expungement, which shall include the following statement: “I declare under penalty of perjury that the statements made herein are true and correct to the best of my knowledge, information, and belief.”.
- Nothing in this section shall be construed to limit or restrict the availability of expungement to any person under any other law.
Section B. Section A of this act shall become effective on January 1, 2018.
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Attorney Thomas Carver is an AV Preeminent rated lawyer by Martindale-Hubbell. Fellow attorneys may be interested in reading Carver’s recently published article for the Missouri Bar, “Understanding Missouri’s new expungement law.“