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EXPUNGED! Like It Never Even Happened!

Expungement.  It's a legal term.  It's a way to scrub a criminal record clean if you have ever run afoul of the law.  Expungement is a process that allows someone to petition a court to have an arrest, guilty plea, or conviction removed from certain public records.

Up until the recent passage of Senate Bill 588, now Section 610.140, Missouri wasn't a very forgiving state when it came to giving its citizens a chance to clean up their criminal records.  Missouri's expungement statute was limited and imposed strict limits on the number and type of criminal offenses that one could expunge from certain public records.  Only a very limited number of felonies and misdemeanors could be expunged and you had to wait a long time; 20 years and 10 years, respectively.

On July 13, 2016, Missouri Governor Jay Nixon signed Senate Bill 588, which dramatically changes the current law in Missouri regarding the expungement of criminal records.  The new law doesn't take effect until January 1, 2018, but its passage has already generated a lot of interest.

For starters, the new expungement law greatly increases the types of criminal offenses that can be expunged from public records.  Secondly, it shortens the time one has to wait to have a guilty plea or conviction expunged.  For felonies, the waiting period has been reduced from 20 years to 7 years.  For misdemeanors, the waiting period has been reduced from 10 years to 3 years.

The law makes certain that serious felonies cannot be expunged:  Class A felonies, any dangerous felony, felonies requiring registration as a sex offender, felonies where death is an element of the crime, any felony assault, misdemeanor or felony domestic assault, and felony kidnapping.  The new law further lists several more offenses (too many to list here) that cannot be expunged but the upside is that it greatly increases the number of offenses that can be expunged.

If you have been hounded by a criminal record for something you did a long time ago, the time is soon coming when you will have an opportunity to clean up the mistakes of the past.  


Comments 1 Rating: Be the first person to rate this post.
Jessica Simms JULY 20 2016
This was a very good read. I do have many questions about this new law

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