SPRINGFIELD, MO: In December, Attorneys Joseph S. Passanise and Scott Pierson spoke at The Missouri Bar’s DWI and Traffic Law Update: What Practitioners Need to Know to Protect Their Clients. Their presentation entitled, “SINS OF THE PAST CAN BE CLEANSED: 2018 Is a New Year for One’s Criminal Record“, covered change in legislation that went into effect on January 1, 2018. Missouri Legislature signed new criminal record expungement rules into law. These rules allow for the expungement of most misdemeanors and many felonies, including drug offenses. “Missourians who have paid their debt to society and become law-abiding citizens deserve a chance to get a job and support their families,” Former Governor Jay Nixon said.
Expungement is the process of sealing a criminal record. In other words, it is the process of preventing a criminal record from being viewed by the general public. Under the new law, only rare circumstances would an individual be required to disclose an expunged criminal record.
In the past, only very few crimes were eligible for expungement. The law covers a variety of state crimes, including non-sexual and non-violent crimes—including marijuana-related offenses. It has reduced the wait time that a person has to wait before applying for expungement. For example, the wait time before expunging a felony has been reduced from 20 years to 7 after the person has completed their sentence. The time period for misdemeanors has been reduced from 10 years to only 3.
Past criminal records often can exclude someone from being eligible for employment, loans, and many government provided benefits. While the expungement process does not work as a pardon, it does begin to return the individual back to the position they were in before they were arrested for their criminal offense. Please call our office at (417) 882-9300 with any questions about expungement.