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Can you get your criminal record expunged?

A criminal conviction follows you around for a long time. It shows up on background checks, and it could prevent you from getting a loan, job or housing.

Last January, Missouri passed a law expanding the crimes eligible for expungement. An expungement removes or seals records related to your arrest or conviction. The new law also cuts down the length of time you must wait to apply for expungement. Here are four questions you may have about the expungement process in Missouri.

When can you get a conviction expunged?

The new law cut down the time you must wait to apply for expungement. For those with misdemeanor convictions, you can seek an expungement three years after your conviction. For felony crimes, you must wait seven years after your conviction.

What crimes can be expunged?

Most drug-related offenses can be expunged from your record. Generally, violent or deadly crimes will not be expunged from your record. If your offense forced you to register as a sex offender, you cannot get your crime expunged. Any felony conviction for domestic assault or kidnapping is also barred from expungement. An arrest that was never prosecuted can generally be expunged from your record.

Can I have a DWI conviction expunged?

A DWI conviction can be expunged, if you were not convicted of another DWI. However, you must wait 10 years before you can apply for a DWI expungement.

How does the expungement process work?

You file a petition for expungement in the court where you were charged or convicted. On the petition, you name all the courts, law enforcement agencies or state repositories that have a record of your conviction. This ensures all your records are pulled. According to the Missouri Courts website, you must pay a $250 filing fee to the court. A hearing occurs in 30 to 60 days, depending on whether the state objects to your petition.

Missouri residents can move beyond past mistakes with an expungement. It also frees you from future problems with background checks.

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