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Can a shoplifting conviction be expunged?

On Behalf of | Jul 1, 2024 | Criminal Defense

In Missouri, expungement (also known as expunction) is a legal procedure that seals a criminal record, making it inaccessible to the public. This process can offer individuals a fresh start and improved opportunities.

Missouri’s expungement laws have evolved significantly. Senate Bill 588, passed in 2016, expanded the range of offenses eligible for expungement. Further updates came with Senate Bills 53 and 60, effective August 28, 2021, which broadened the scope of expungable offenses.

Eligibility for expungement

Missouri law now allows for the expungement of over 1,900 offenses. However, some crimes remain ineligible. These include all Class A felonies, offenses requiring sex offender registration and felony offenses involving death. These also include felony assault offenses, domestic assault (misdemeanor or felony) and felony kidnapping.

Can shoplifting convictions be expunged?

A common question is whether shoplifting convictions can be expunged. Initially, shoplifting was not eligible for expungement. However, Missouri law changed in 2019, making certain stealing convictions, including shoplifting, eligible for expungement.

The expungement process

To qualify, an individual must meet several criteria. First, filers must have a clean criminal record for 3 years following the guilty plea for shoplifting. Second, all fines must be paid. Finally, the convicted must have completed all of their court-ordered probation and parole.

To pursue expungement, one must file a petition in the court of the county where the offense occurred. There is a filing fee, though the judge can waive this fee for individuals unable to pay.

While there are specific conditions and procedures, shoplifting convictions can now potentially be expunged in Missouri. Staying informed about legal changes is crucial for understanding your rights and options.