Expungement Attorney in Independence, Missouri
All of us have made mistakes at some point in our lives, and for some of us, this may have ended in a misdemeanor or felony conviction. Many times, these convictions will stay on your criminal record for years after you’ve completed your sentence and probation, which can have lasting implications for your employment and housing options. However, some of these convictions can be expunged, helping you wipe the slate clean, but getting to this stage is not always easy.
If you’re interested in learning more about expungement, call Michael J Englert, Attorney at Law, today. He has the knowledge, experience, and resources necessary to guide you towards a brighter future. Attorney Englert works out of Independence, Missouri, but helps clients in the neighboring areas, including Blue Springs and Lee’s Summit.
What Is Expungement?
Expungement is the process of sealing your criminal record from public view, essentially destroying the evidence of your crime. However, it does not excuse or pardon your crime, it only hides it so it won’t negatively affect you after you’ve served your sentence. This means you won’t have to disclose this information on job or housing applications, or when trying to purchase a firearm. It also cannot erase every trace of your crime, especially if it was documented in the media.
Who Is Eligible for Expungement?
Expungement is an incredible opportunity for those who have served their time and have proven they’ve reformed their ways and are unlikely to recommit a crime. However, you’ll need to know which crimes are expungable and which aren't.
For you to be eligible, you must have served your complete sentence and probation, paid off your fines, and have a three-year clean date for felonies or a one-year clean date for misdemeanors. This last requirement is a recent change in state law as of 2018. The previous statute of limitations was seven years for a felony and three years for a misdemeanor.
It’s worth noting that even if you do meet these requirements, you will still have to formally petition the court, and the final decision is left to the discretion of the judge.
Who Is Not Eligible?
Some prior convictions will never be eligible for expungement, no matter how well-behaved you’ve been. In Missouri, these include a class A felony, any conviction that required you to register as a sex offender, a felony that involved the death of someone, or a felony assault. State laws also prohibit some misdemeanor crimes from being eligible such as a domestic assault conviction.
What Are the Benefits of Expungement?
Many people with criminal records find their lives affected by their past actions long after the crime was committed. If you’re granted expungement, this means you’ll have more job and housing opportunities, and have an easier time applying for loans or lines of credit. Additionally, you’ll be able to participate in civic responsibilities, such as voting and serving on a journey.
What Is the Process?
Individuals seeking expungement must file a petition in the same county where the charge was originally made and pay a $250 fee. Then you will bring forward evidence and be scheduled for a hearing where a judge will review your petition and decide whether to grant your expungement. Although it’s not legally required, it can be extremely helpful to work with a criminal defense attorney during this process since they can provide advice, help you gather evidence, and prepare you for your review.
Serving Independence, Missouri
If you’re in the Independence, Missouri, area and are wondering if you can get your record expunged, reach out to Michael J Englert, Attorney at Law, to schedule a consultation. Everyone deserves a fresh start. Call now to learn about your options and see if expungement is a viable option.