Partner Tim West on Missouri SB588 Expanding Criminal Expungement
Let’s say an applicant just so happened to be convicted of a felony or misdemeanor crime in the past and he’d like to have that removed from his criminal record as it is proving a hindrance to gaining employment. As of January 1, 2018, it will be much easier. This legislative session SB588 was passed and recently signed by Governor Nixon. The bill expands the type of crimes that are eligible for expungement, removes the limitation of one expungement per Circuit Court and shortens the time before expungement can be sought. Previously one would have to wait 10 years for a misdemeanor and 20 years for a felony. Now, just 3 years and 7 years respectively. Keep in mind there are still a lot of crimes that are not eligible to be expunged.
If a conviction is expunged, the applicant is no longer required to disclose the conviction in most circumstances. The bill expressly says that after expungement, an application may answer no to the conviction question on an application. Convictions must still be disclosed when seeking certain licenses (including professional licenses) and for certain jobs where employers are prohibited from hiring individuals with certain convictions. The bill puts the burden on the employer to inform the applicant of this.
While Governor Nixon stated that this bill balances the interest of those previously convicted of certain crimes with the interest of employers, this will create new challenges for employers.