EXPUNGEMENT ATTORNEY IN ST. LOUIS, MISSOURI
If you are convicted of a misdemeanor, a felony, or infraction, it will show up on your record. Once a charge shows up on your record, it is hard for you to obtain employment, housing, and even student and business loans.
Missouri, however, allows for individuals with certain convictions on a record to apply for what is known as expungement, or sealing your criminal record from public view. In the past, Missouri laws severely restricted the number of crimes eligible for expungement, but due to statutory changes taking effect in August 2021, that number now stands at above 1900.
Another big change is the waiting period before you can apply for expungement. In the past, it was seven years for a felony and three years for a misdemeanor. Those wait times have now been reduced to three years and one year, respectively.
If you wish to pursue expungement of convictions on your criminal record in St. Louis or St. Charles, Missouri, contact me at The Law Office of Gregory N. Smith. I will assess if you qualify and then help you complete the petition and supporting documents to expunge your criminal record.
What Expungement Can and Can’t Do
If you get your conviction expunged, it will be sealed from public view, and you apply for employment; you can truthfully answer “no” when the application asks if you’ve ever been convicted of a crime. Sealed from public view means that anyone outside law enforcement will need to file a lawsuit to gain access to your record.
At the same time, however, if you’re applying for professional licensing or work in specific industries, such as banking, insurance, law enforcement, and others, you still are required to admit to your record.
Who Is Eligible for Expungement?
Since 2021 when the list of eligible crimes was vastly expanded, most non-violent offenses can now be expunged. Exclusions include dangerous felonies, and felonies involving murder, assault, or kidnapping. Domestic violence convictions, whether felony or misdemeanor, also do not qualify, along with any offense requiring you to register as a sex offender. Any traffic, boating or aircraft violation for intoxicated operation also does not qualify.
As noted earlier, you must also wait three years to expunge a felony but just one year for a misdemeanor or infraction.
Who Is Not Eligible?
In addition to the excluded crimes listed above, you can not be eligible for expungement if you have not completed all sentencing requirements, including jail or prison time, paying off all fines and restitution, and completing probation or parole. You also cannot be facing another criminal charge or have been convicted of a felony, misdemeanor or infraction during the waiting interval.
Also, there is a limit to the number of convictions that can be expunged. According to the statute, expungements cannot exceed these limits:
Not more than two misdemeanor offenses or ordinance violations that have an authorized term of imprisonment; and
Not more than one felony offense.
The Expungement Process
Once you have completed all sentencing obligations and waited the specified time needed to apply, you can complete a petition for expungement and submit it to the court where you were convicted, along with a $250 fee.
The criteria the court uses in deciding whether to grant you an expungement include the determination that you are not a threat to public safety, and that the “expungement is consistent with the public welfare and the interests of justice warrant the expungement.”
However, when you submit your petition, you must also list 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.”
These defendants can then present evidence or testimony to the court regarding your offenses and your fitness for expungement.
EXPUNGEMENT ATTORNEY SERVING ST. LOUIS, MISSOURI
The process of petitioning for expungement and succeeding is not a do-it-yourself proposition. If you omit information inadvertently, or if named defendants raise objections, you may face delays, an uphill battle, or even rejection. I will be happy to meet with you, help assess your situation, help file your petition, and stand with you throughout the process. If you are in St. Louis, St. Charles, St. Louis County, Jefferson County, or East St. Louis, contact me at The Law Office of Gregory N. Smith.