Can not find employment due to arrest 6 years ago.

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Can not find employment due to arrest 6 years ago.

I Have a college degree but i can not get hired because of **** and theft charges. I have been clean for 6 years. What can i do to get a decent job to support me and my son?

Asked on May 4, 2009 under Criminal Law, Missouri


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 13 years ago | Contributor

In Missouri, under some circumstances, you may be able to have a criminal record expunged, which is the process of legally destroying, obliterating or striking out records or information in files, computers and other depositories relating to criminal charges.

You are eligible in Missouri for expungement if your arrest was based on false information and the following conditions exist:

  • There is no probable cause to believe you committed the offense
  • No charges will be pursued as a result of the arrest
  • You have no prior or subsequent misdemeanor or felony convictions
  • You did not receive a suspended imposition of sentence for the offense
  • No civil action is pending relating to the arrest or records sought to be expunged

If you qualify, you may file a verified petition for expungement in the civil division of the circuit court in the county of your arrest. The court then sets a hearing on the matter no sooner than 30 days from the filing of the petition. If the court finds that you are entitled to expungement of any record, it must enter an order directing expungement.

J.M.A., Member in Good Standing of the Connecticut Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 13 years ago | Contributor

I am a lawyer licensed in CT only, however, I have dealt with clients in the same situation as you.  The fact that you have been good for 6 years says a whole lot about you and looks very good.  The problem is as you are experiencing is that most employers do not gernerally employ people with a criminal history, let alone theft - especially with the whole Madoff and other embezzlement cases out there.  My client has a similar situation.  What we did was apply to have his record "expunged."  This is a fancy legal word for erased.  In most states you can apply to have your record expunge so that it does not appear on you background or anywhere.  I would say that this is a step in the right direction.  The next issue will be how to answer the question on the job application dealing with arrests.  Yes, this is almost unavoidable.  I advice my clients to write an explanation and provide the employer with references that know you very well and know about your criminal record as well as the person you are today.  This will help get the employer to not hold the record against you as much and give you a chance.  At the end of the day, however, it is hard and people a very judgmental and unforgiving.  I would look into applying for counseling jobs where you can use your prior history as a tool to guide others in the right direction, or jobs that generallydont involving handling currency - which are highly supervised/micromanaged.

I wish you the best of luck.

MD, Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 13 years ago | Contributor

You may qualify for expungement(destroying) or sealing of your criminal records.

610.123. 1. Any person who wishes to have a record of arrest expunged pursuant to section 610.122 may file a verified petition for expungement in the civil division of the circuit court in the county of the arrest as provided in subsection 4 of this section. The petition shall include the following information or shall be dismissed if the information is not given:

(1) The petitioner's:

(a) Full name;

(b) Sex;

(c) Race;

(d) Date of birth;

(e) Driver's license number;

(f) Social Security number; and

(g) Address at the time of the arrest;

(2) The offense charged against the petitioner;

(3) The date the petitioner was arrested;

(4) The name of the county where the petitioner was arrested and if the arrest occurred in a municipality, the name of the municipality;

(5) The name of the agency that arrested the petitioner;

(6) The case number and court of the offense;

(7) Petitioner's fingerprints on a standard fingerprint card at the time of filing a petition to expunge a record that will be forwarded to the central repository for the sole purpose of positively identifying the petitioner.

2. The petition shall name as defendants all law enforcement agencies, courts, prosecuting attorneys, central state depositories of criminal records or others who the petitioner has reason to believe may possess the records subject to expungement. The court's order shall not affect any person or entity not named as a defendant in the action.

3. The court shall set a hearing on the matter no sooner than thirty days from the filing of the petition and shall give reasonable notice of the hearing to each official or agency or other entity named in the petition.

4. If the court finds that the petitioner is entitled to expungement of any record that is the subject of the petition, it shall enter an order directing expungement. Upon granting of the order of expungement, the records and files maintained in any administrative or court proceeding in an associate or circuit division of the circuit court under this section shall be confidential and only available to the parties or by order of the court for good cause shown. A copy of the order shall be provided to each agency identified in the petition pursuant to subsection 2 of this section.

5. The supreme court shall promulgate rules establishing procedures for the handling of cases filed pursuant to the provisions of this section and section 610.122. Such procedures shall be similar to the procedures established in chapter 482, RSMo, for the handling of small claims.

(L. 1993 H.B. 170 § 2 merged with H.B. 562 § 12, A.L. 1995 H.B. 135, A.L. 2003 S.B. 184, A.L. 2005 S.B. 422)


Try consulting a criminal defense attorney at or the Missouri state bar or legal aid.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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