How to Remove a Felony from Your Record in Missouri
July 11, 2023
Life quickly improves when a judge removes a felony from your record. You have a better chance of getting a good job, renting an apartment, and buying a car. You also can vote.
More than 500,000 Missourians qualify for having a felony removed—but sadly, few people try. That is because the process of removing a felony from your record is difficult and time-consuming.
Don’t let that keep you from trying. Start by talking to a criminal defense lawyer about how to get a felony expunged from your record. The Kirsch & Kirsch law team speeds up the process of removing a felony and gets it done for those who deserve a second chance.
Why is Removing a Felony from Your Record So Important?
Expungement is the legal term for sealing a criminal record. Another way of saying it is the felony is removed from your record. If law enforcement or anyone else wants to see your records in the future, they would need a court order to do so.
When a felony is removed from your record, you can legally deny the arrest or conviction anytime someone asks. Missourians quickly make more money once their felony is removed:
- They are 13% more likely to have a job after a felony is removed from their record.
- They make an average of $4,444 a year more, a 23% jump in wages compared to when they had a felony on their record.
- The average wage increase for Black men is 23%.
- Missouri women make 30% more after a felony is removed from their record.
Who Can Have a Felony Removed from their Record?
Missouri Revised Statute §610.140 lays out 1,900 offenses eligible for expungement. The list includes most misdemeanors. To have a felony removed, you must have:
- Paid the fine you received for committing the offense;
- Finished any probation or parole;
- A clean record for at least three years for a felony offense;
- A clean record for at least one year for a misdemeanor, municipal offense, or infraction.
Convictions or arrests for class A felonies and other violent crimes cannot be expunged. Neither can crimes in these categories:
- An offense that puts someone on the sex offender registry;
- A felony in which a death was part of the offense;
- Felony assault;
- Domestic assault, both misdemeanor and felony; and
- Felony conviction for kidnapping.
You can see the full list of offenses that are not eligible for expungement in RSMo §610.140.2. The law here is complicated; talk to a criminal defense lawyer at Kirsch & Kirsch to get clear about your unique case and your chance of having your felony removed.
How to Get a Felony Expunged from Your Record
Getting a felony expunged from your record is too much to take on without legal help. The Kirsch & Kirsch criminal defense attorneys know how to get a felony removed from your record and will do everything in their power to make that happen. We file all the papers, respond to questions from the judge, and represent you if you must attend a hearing.
Here is what is involved in fighting for removal of a felony from your record in Missouri:
- The person who wants the felony removed files a petition in the county where the offense occurred. Felony expungement petitions can be tough to complete because they need details about where the crime was committed, who made the arrests, and how the case ended. If you have more than one conviction you want to have expunged, the court wants a separate petition for each one.
- The local judge contacts the police and prosecutors who worked on the case and asks what they think about the request for the felony to be removed. They may agree with the expungement, or they may not.
- If the judge thinks the person is ready to have the felony removed, or the crime was minor, they may approve the expungement without a hearing. If they are not convinced removing the felony is a good idea, they schedule a hearing.
Fighting for Felony Removal in Court
An expungement hearing is like a trial. It takes place in a courtroom with a judge. There are two sides: the petitioner and the defense. The defense is composed of the entities who do not think the petitioner’s felony should be removed. This may include prosecuting attorneys, local law enforcement, the Missouri Highway Patrol, and the Missouri Department of Revenue.
If you are the one seeking to have a felony removed, be ready to answer:
- Details about the crime leading to the arrest on felony charges.
- How you have changed for the better. Prepare by making a list of the positive things in your life like having a job, getting into recovery, or doing community service.
- The negative impact the felony record has on your life. Share about how hard it is to get a good job, place to stay, or vehicle.
After you tell your story, the defense will present evidence that shows why they are against removing the felony. They may say you are a threat to others, or the crime was too serious for removing the felony. They could even argue that you have not made appropriate reparations for the crime.
The judge weighs the statements from both sides, then decides whether to grant the expungement. If the petitioner does not agree with the ruling, they can appeal the case. If they are granted another hearing, their lawyer works with them to improve their chances of having the felony removed. This may include doing more to improve their lives, like getting clean and sober, and making amends to those they have harmed.
The Benefits of Hiring a Lawyer to Get a Felony Removed
Getting a felony removed from your record will change your life, so give it your best shot. The Kirsch & Kirsch law firm knows what it takes to have a felony removed in Jefferson City, Mo. courts. We will help you through every step of making the felony record go away. Our first conversation is free. Contact us online or on the phone at 573-261-5867.