What Is an Expungement?
An expungement is the process of removing an arrest or criminal conviction from your criminal history. This means that your prior convictions are basically sealed from public view. In most cases, an employer running a background check will not be able to find expunged convictions, and you would not be required to list them on an employment application.
Records for Some Offenses Can Never Be Expunged
Ineligible Crimes Include:
- Class A felonies
- Dangerous felonies
- Offenses that require you to register as a sex offender
- Any crime where death is an element.
Why Should I Get an Expungement?
If you have a criminal conviction expunged, information about your past conviction cannot be disclosed anymore unless certain exceptions apply. So, for example, if you had a drug conviction expunged, you would no longer be required to disclose that prior conviction on job applications.
It’s important to note that an expungement does not remove your prior convictions for law-enforcement purposes. So, if you are charged with a new crime, those prior convictions will still count towards your criminal history score, even if you’ve had them expunged from public view. Likewise, if you are convicted of a crime that prevents you from purchasing a firearm for a period of time, that ban will remain in place even if you have the conviction expunged.
What’s the Process?
First, you must submit a proper petition for expungement to the Office of the District Attorney. This petition must include certain language and information and must be accompanied by a filing fee.
The District Attorney’s office will review your petition, which can take several months. Once this petition is reviewed, you will be notified if the DA’s office agrees that you deserve an expungement.
If the DA’s office does not agree that an expungement is appropriate in your case, you can request a hearing in front of the Judge. At this hearing, it’s important to be prepared to answer questions from the presiding Judge, as well as to show the Judge why you deserve an expungement.
Kansas Qualifications for Expungement
- If you were arrested and never even charged with a crime, there is still a record of arrest on your criminal history. You can apply to have that arrest expunged, immediately. There is no time limit for an application to expunge an arrest record.
- Some arrests for highly violent crimes, or sex offenses are not eligible for expungement even if they did not result in a conviction.
- Even if you don’t have a conviction on your record because you went through a diversion process, you can still apply to have the record of that diversion expunged. You will be eligible for a diversion expungement (in most cases) after 3 years have passed from the last date of your diversion period.
- DUI diversions are not eligible for expungement.
- In Kansas, there is a wide range of convictions that are eligible for expungement. If you have been convicted of a crime, that prior conviction can generally be expunged from your record after a certain period of time. For example, a felony theft conviction can be expunged after 3 years.
- A period of 5 years is required to qualify for an expungement in cases such as: Driving while suspended,
- Other convictions, like DUIs or high-level sex offenses are never eligible for expungement.
Missouri Qualifications for Expungement
- Missouri’s rules for expungement are much more strict and complex, compared to Kansas. Missouri also has a much shorter list of offenses eligible for expungement, though that list was substantially expanded as of January 2018. Some of those offenses that cannot be expunged include but are not limited to: any misdemeanor or felony of domestic assault, intoxication-related offenses, any offenses involving the operation of a commercial motor vehicle, and any violent or sex offenses.
- Generally speaking, most Missouri expungements require a period of either 3 or 7 years to elapse before you may apply.
- The application process for expungement requires you to file a petition in the same court where you were sentenced and to name and serve a specific list of people with notice of that petition. For example, relevant law enforcement agencies involved in your original conviction, as well as prosecuting attorneys, and even central state repositories must be properly named and served
Under Missouri Revised Statutes § 610.122 (2018), in order to expunge an arrest in Missouri, first, there cannot be any civil action related to the arrest pending against you, and you cannot have any prior or subsequent convictions. Second, you must fit into one of two categories:
- Option A: The court determines the arrest was based on false information, and all of the following must be true:
- There is no probable cause, at the time of the expungement, to believe you committed the offense,
- No charges will be pursued as a result of the arrest
- You did not receive a suspended imposition of sentence (SIS) for any offense resulting from the arrest.
- Option B: The court determines you were arrested for, or subsequently charged with various eligible misdemeanors or traffic violations (DWI and intoxication-related traffic offenses do not qualify) and both of the following must be true:
- You were not actually convicted as a result of that prior arrest
- You do not have a commercial driver’s license, and were not operating a commercial motor vehicle at the time of the prior arrest.
Severity of Crimes & Expungement