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Expungement law gives some convicted Missourians a fresh start

January 1, 2018 starts a new day for people in Missouri who are convicted of crimes.

Historically, Missouri has not looked favorably on the idea of convicted criminals starting over. State law only allowed expungement of some misdemeanors and one minor felony like writing bad checks.

What does expungement mean?

Specifically, it means that, when you are applying for a job or to go to school, you are not required by law to cite convictions that have been expunged. This is a big deal if you have been struggling to get ahead in life with a conviction hanging around your neck.

We at The Law Office of Gregory N. Smith expect a surge of requests for expungement of non-violent, non-sexual convictions in the areas of DUI, possession of marijuana, and other crimes. Experts estimate as many as 1.1 million expungements may be sought in the first year.

Non-Class A felonies will not be open to expungement under the new law. This class includes crimes of violence, sex crimes and certain weapons and corruption offenses.

The new law will broaden the list of expungeable crimes. It will also change the period of time a convicted person must wait. The period for non-Class A felonies will be reduced from 20 years to 7 years following completion of the sentence. The waiting period misdemeanors will be reduced from 10 to 3 years.

Is the new law perfect? No. There are still many crimes that cannot be expunged. The law will limit the number of times you may petition for expungement in your lifetime. It is not an absolute guarantee your records will not come back to haunt you. Some employers and licensing agencies may continue to consider expunged convictions a reason to disqualify you.

Need to learn more about your situation, and if you can benefit from SB-588? We are here to talk.

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