An expungement is a court order which directs an arresting agency, its prosecuting attorneys and the Missouri Highway Patrol, as well as any other law enforcement agency having a record of the arrest, to destroy all records pertaining to the arrest, as if it never occurred. An expungement is purely a creature of statute and there is no equitable right to an expungement. If you meet all of the criteria for an expungement, the Court is obligated to order the expungement of your arrest record. Alternatively, if you fail to meet any one of the criteria for expungement, the Court is without authority to order the expungement, no matter how deserving the Court believes you to be.
Statutory requirements for Expungement
Section 610.122 of the Revised Statutes of Missouri (RSMo.) sets out the requirements to be met for the expungement of an arrest record. These requirements are as follows:
the arrest was based on false information;
there is no probable cause, at the time of the action to expunge, to believe the individual arrested committed the crime;
no charges will be pursued as a result of the arrest;
the individual arrested does not have any prior or subsequent misdemeanor or felony convictions;
no civil action is pending relating to the arrest or the records sought to be expunged; and,
the individual arrested did not receive a suspended imposition of sentence for the offense for which the arrest was made or for any offenses related to the arrest.
For purposes of the foregoing:
the term “false information” means some or all of the information upon which the police relied in making the arrest was false;
the term “reasonable cause” means having more evidence for than against the crime charged and having facts which would cause a reasonably intelligent and prudent person to believe that the accused person had committed the crime charged; and,
a suspended imposition of sentence occurs when the person who was arrested is convicted of the crime charged, whether by plea or upon trial, and, instead of sentencing the individual upon his/her conviction, the individual is placed on probation for a period of time at the end of which the charge against the individual becomes a closed record.
If you received a Suspended Imposition of Sentence (“SIS”), your record cannot be expunged. Instead, the record will be closed and will only be accessible to you and to certain law enforcement agencies, but not to the general public.
Filing a Petition to Expunge
If you think you meet all of the requirements for the expungement of a prior arrest, the attorneys at The Dulle Law Firm, have the experience, knowledge and skills to help you prepare, file and argue your Petition to Expunge. Our fees for doing so are reasonable and start at $500, not including the filing fee.
In deciding whether to retain an attorney to represent you in regard to your Petition to Expunge, it is important that you keep the following in mind:
it is your burden to prove you are entitled to an expungement;
the arresting agencies will be represented by highly skilled legal counsel; and,
the judge hearing your case, who is a highly skilled attorney, as well, will ask you many questions concerning the circumstances surrounding your arrest.
You only get one chance to expunge your record! Don’t waste it! I can help. Contact me today for a free initial consultation or call 314-384-4000. I will be happy to speak with you about the specifics of your case and your right to an expungement.