Expunging or Sealing Adult Criminal Records in Missouri

In Missouri, some criminal records can be expunged or closed so that the general public will not be able to access them. But not all records are eligible.

In Missouri, your criminal record may qualify for expungement or "closure" under the circumstances described below. In most cases, if your record is expunged or closed, you will not have to state that you were arrested or convicted of a crime.

Expungement of Arrest and Conviction Records in Missouri

Expungement of an arrest or conviction record for a felony or misdemeanor. Arrest or conviction records for many misdemeanors and felonies are eligible for expungement. Once expunged, the record will be available only to the courts, law enforcement agencies, and certain employers. You must wait seven years to apply for expungement if your case resulted in a felony conviction and three years for arrest records or misdemeanor convictions. However, Missouri law lists a number of offenses that are not eligible for expungement, including:

  • Class A violent felonies
  • dangerous felonies
  • any offense that requires registration as a sex offender
  • domestic assault, and
  • driving while intoxicated.

See Missouri Revised Statutes § 610.140 for the full list of disqualifying offenses. You may expunge only one felony record and two misdemeanor records in a lifetime.

Expungement of an arrest record based on false information. Your arrest record is eligible for expungement—meaning that it will be destroyed or erased—if the arrest was based on false information and all of the following statements are true:

  • there was no probable cause to believe you committed the crime
  • you were not charged with a crime
  • you have no prior or subsequent misdemeanor or felony convictions
  • you did not receive a suspended imposition of sentence for the offense, and
  • no civil action is pending related to the arrest or records you want to expunge.

(Missouri Revised Statutes § 610.122 (2018).)

Expungement of an arrest record for a motor vehicle offense. Your arrest record may be eligible for expungement if you were arrested for and charged with a misdemeanor motor vehicle offense and the charges were dropped or you were found not guilty at trial. A driving offense is not eligible for expungement if:

  • you were intoxicated
  • you hold a commercial driver’s license and were driving a commercial vehicle at the time of the arrest
  • you have another misdemeanor or felony conviction on your record, or
  • there is a pending civil action related to the arrest or record you want expunged.

(Missouri Revised Statutes § 610.122 (2018).)

Closure of Arrest Records in Missouri

Closure of an arrest record. Your arrest record may qualify for closure—meaning that it will be hidden from public view—if you were arrested and charged and one of the following conditions applies:

  • the charges were dropped (nolle prossed)
  • the charges were dismissed
  • you were found not guilty, or
  • imposition of sentence was suspended.

(Missouri Revised Statutes § 610.105 (2018).)

If this law applies to you, your record should have been automatically closed by the court. If that did not happen, consult the court clerk or a criminal defense attorney for instructions on how to proceed.

How to File

You can find the forms to petition for closure or expungement at the website of the Missouri Courts. You must file the petition in the Circuit Court of the county where the arrest occurred.

Getting Legal Help

Cleaning up a criminal record can be complicated, and the law can change at any time. If you are not sure whether your record qualifies for expungement in Missouri—or for advice about your personal situation—you should contact an experienced criminal law attorney. A good lawyer can guide you each step of the way.

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