The following is a video transcript.
Recent Law Changes
This past year, the issue of record expungement has been a hot topic in Missouri. Why? Because the law has changed.
Previously in Missouri, there were very few criminal charges that could be expunged. That changed in 2018, and now a wide variety of criminal charges may be expunged from your record. If you have a previous felony conviction and it has been seven years since the end of your probation, you may be eligible to expunge that felony. If you have a previous misdemeanor and it has been three years since the end of your probation (or the conclusion of your case, if you did not have probation), you may be eligible to expunge that charge.
Charges that Cannot Be Expunged
There are two large categories of charges which are not able to be expunged in Missouri: any stealing-related offenses and any sex crimes.
DWI (Driving While Intoxicated) charges are still separate from the new expungement law. So for instance, if you had a DWI 10 years ago, can you expunge it now? Well, that depends: if it was a first offense DWI and you have not had any alcohol-related arrests since that time, then yes, that is still eligible for expungement and that law hasn’t changed. However, if you’ve had a DWI and you’ve since had a subsequent DWI, neither DWI will be eligible for expungement.
Your 2A Rights
What can expungement do for you as a firearm owner? If you were previously convicted of a felony that is now eligible for expungement, you can expunge the previous felony and once again be eligible to own a firearm. If you entered a guilty plea to a prior felony and received a Suspended Imposition of Sentence (sometimes known as an SIS), what does that do to your firearm rights? Well, if you pled guilty to a charge and received a Suspended Imposition of Sentence, it does prohibit you in Missouri from having a concealed carry permit. However, if that charge is expunged you can once again be eligible to have a concealed carry permit. If you pled guilty to a felony charge and received that Suspended Imposition of Sentence, can you still own a firearm? The answer to that is yes, you just can’t have a concealed carry permit. In Missouri, we also have a permitless carry law, so you would eligible to carry permitless but you wouldn’t have the advantages of having a concealed carry permit unless you’re able to expunge that prior offense.
The Expungement Process
If you need to expunge a felony or misdemeanor charge from your record, how do you do it? Go to an attorney who is familiar with expungement law and ask that attorney to file a petition on your behalf to expunge your criminal record. The process typically takes about three months from the time that the petition is filed with the court. It will involve a fingerprint background check and it would be helpful to your attorney if you have records from your prior charge that you can bring with you, because those will be necessary for the expungement process to ensure that your expungement is carried out properly.