The action of lawfully destroying any criminal records and files in the state of Missouri is called expungement. If records cannot be destroyed, they are otherwise crossed out. According to Missouri law 610.123, all records in accordance with a criminal file must be eliminated from the state of Missouri's electronic database. The Federal Bureau of Investigation will then be notified and all the records in their possession will also be expunged. However only certain records can be expunged. One of these cases is when an adult has been arrested on false information. If all the important implications have been met, expungement of the file is possible under Missouri law 610.122.
Juvenile cases can also be expunged under two circumstances. When a juvenile has been taken into custody but a petition was not filed within the thirty-day time period from the date of the arrest, he or she can file for record erasure. If a petition towards a juvenile has not been filed within a year's time since the date of the arrest, he or she may apply for expungement of all relating materials with the offense.
Only certain circumstances are eligible for record expungement in Missouri. Any individual who was arrested but has not had charges filed against him or her is eligible for petitioning. This is also for cases where an individual was arrested but has had no prior felony or misdemeanors convictions and no new felony or misdemeanor convictions. In cases where there is no probable cause of an arrest, an individual may petition for expungement if law enforcement believes he or she did not commit the offense. When an individual has a not suspended sentence imposition for any offense in relation to the arrest, he or she is eligible for record clearing. Also if there is no pending civil action towards an arrest or a record, expungement may be obtained.
The process of expunging records is very detailed and must be completely and accurately followed or else the expungement application will be denied. A petition must be filed to the court in which the arrest was handled and must include all the necessary information. This information pertains to the individual and the arrest and includes date of birth, full legal name, sex, driver's license number, race, social security number, current address, the offense charges, the date of the arrest, the county name where the individual was arrested or the municipality name, the arresting agency's name, the court number, the case number, and the individual's fingerprints.
Copies of the petition must be sent to all related agencies, including the court, the arresting agency, the prosecuting attorney, and the central state depositories. A court hearing will be set within thirty days of petition filing and all agencies involved in the case will be notified of the date. The court date will determine if the record should be expunged or not. After a record has been accepted for expunction, all of the agencies will be required to eliminate any files and information towards the arrest and conviction. See also:
Missouri Felony External link (opens in new window)
Missouri Misdemeanors External link (opens in new window)
Missouri Gun Laws External link (opens in new window)