Citizens of Missouri who years ago passed bad checks, used a forged credit card or committed other types of crimes could get their criminal records expunged thanks to a recently signed law. Of the many public safety laws signed this week by Governor Jay Nixon, one includes a provision that allows for applications to expunge certain criminal records.
The law says that people would need to wait 20 years for a felony and 10 years for a misdemeanor and have completed their prison terms, probation and parole before any expungement would be approved. They also would need to have paid restitution and not have committed another crime. The law says that about a dozen offenses would be eligible and was constructed to make sure that violent or drug crimes were not included.
The law was proposed by Senator Brad Lager, Republican from Savannah, who said he originally thought up the legislation to help people regain their rights to have firearms. Lager says a man in his district pleaded guilty to passing bad checks when he was in his early 20s and now, decades later, wanted to take his son hunting but was prevented due to federal law which prohibits convicted felons from having a gun. Lager says the new law would allow the man's conviction to be expunged and restore his Second Amendment firearms rights.
To have a criminal record expunged, people would be required to file a petition that names as defendants law enforcement agencies, courts, prosecuting attorneys, repositories of criminal records and others believed to possess the records. Anyone not named would not be required to delete their records.
Those requesting expungement would then provide identifying information, including their name, address, driver's license number and address along with the type of offense, case number and date and county where they were arrested. They also would pay a $100 surcharge for each petition. After a request is filed, a judge would hold a hearing to determine if the petition meets the requirements and if the person deserves to have their record expunged.
When petitions are granted, officials possessing the records would destroy them and any record related to the crime would be removed from electronic files kept by state officials. Files kept by the courts would be sealed and only made available through a court order. Rights sacrificed because of a criminal conviction, such as serving on juries and owning a gun, would be restored. However, it's important to note that even after someone's criminal history has been expunged, the crime would be considered a previous offense if the person later commits another crime.
Given the complexities of having a criminal record expunged in Missouri, only an experienced Missouri criminal defense attorney should be entrusted with the job. If you or someone you know has been charged with a crime in the St. Louis area contact our St. Louis Criminal Defense Firm today at (314) 863-0500.
Source: "Some Missourians Can Time Out Their Criminal Records," by Bob Hamilton, published at StLouis.CBSLocal.com.
See Our Related Blog Posts:
Missouri Enacts New Sentencing Guidelines
Missouri Juveniles in Prison for Murder Prepare for Sentencing Changes