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For far too long, people convicted of crimes and faced the consequences have been subjected to the stigma of their convictions. Long after paying the price for committing a crime, people had to continue paying the price by missed opportunities for employment because of their record. The state of Missouri has taken strides to change the course by providing a chance for people, depending on the crime, to have their records sealed or expunged.

If you have been acquitted of criminal charges, if the statute of limitations for charging you with a crime has expired, or if you want to have your arrest record sealed, call me at The Law Office of Gregory N. Smith for help. My practice is focused solely on criminal defense for clients in St. Louis, East St. Louis, St. Charles, and Jefferson County, Missouri.



The Difference Between Record Sealing and Expungement

Having your criminal record sealed means the public can no longer access it. The record still exists, but it can only be accessed by a court order once it is sealed.

In contrast, expungement results in having a conviction erased from your record. Once erased, no record remains to be accessed by the court or anyone else.

Who Can Request to Have Their Record Sealed?

Anyone arrested, charged, or guilty with a certain amount of offenses in Missouri can apply to have the arrest, plea, trial, and conviction records sealed. As long as the accompanying fines are paid with completion of incarceration, probation, and parole, and have maintained a clean record for three years regarding felony offenses and one year for misdemeanors, infractions, and municipal offenses.

Who’s Not Eligible for Record Sealing?

Those convicted of Class A felonies, crimes requiring sex offender registration, felonies involving a death, felony assault, felony, and misdemeanor domestic assault, and felony kidnapping convictions are not eligible for record sealing. Other offenses that render you ineligible include certain firearms and intoxication crimes.

Reasons to Seal Your Record

If you are eligible to seal your record, you need an attorney. Criminal records prohibit you from employment opportunities, obtaining student or business loans, and living in certain places. Any company that requires disclosure of your criminal record can bar your application. Once your records are sealed, you are no longer obliged by law to disclose arrests, pleas, and convictions for any offense sealed with certain exceptions.

If requested by the court when charged with a subsequent offense, you must disclose prior offenses, even if sealed, to be used for charge and sentencing purposes. Also, you must disclose prior offenses on applications for professional licensure, certification, or permits, and employment applications in gaming, law enforcement emergency services, banking, and insurance, among others.

You should consult with a criminal defense attorney to confirm when you are or are not required to disclose a sealed record.

Can Sealed Records be Accessed?

A sealed record is accessed by the court, law enforcement, or employers in industries where prior offenses and sealed records must be disclosed.

The Record Sealing Process

You must file a petition with the Missouri court with jurisdiction where you were arrested, charged, or convicted of the offenses you are requesting to be sealed. You will be the plaintiff in the petition, and you will name as defendants any person or entity you think has records of the offenses. This may include the law enforcement agencies that investigated or arrested you, the prosecuting attorney’s office, the agency that maintains a repository of criminal records (such as the Missouri State Highway Patrol), and even the court in which your case was assigned.

Defendants have 30 days to object to the petition. If there are no objections, the court is required to hold a hearing on the petition within 30 days. If a defendant files an objection, the court must hold a hearing within 60 days from the date an objection was filed.

If the court denies the petition, you can refile it after one year or file an appeal right away.


To learn more about sealing your records, consult with a criminal defense attorney. An attorney can also advise you regarding situations where you are required to disclose a sealed record. I proudly serve clients in St. Louis, East St. Louis, St. Charles, and Jefferson County, Missouri. Get in touch with me at The Law Office of Gregory N. Smith today.