Overview of Missouri criminal expungements

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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UPDATED: Jul 16, 2021

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Missouri generally does not allow for the expungement (or sealing) of criminal conviction records. The lone exception is for minors who were convicted of an alcohol possession offense. Otherwise, Missouri adults can expunge arrests that did not result in charges or a conviction. Alternatively, if the individual was charged, the records can only be expunged if the case was dismissed, the prosecutor did not pursue the charges, or the individual was found not guilty.

In Missouri, the terms expungement and sealing are used interchangeably. When either term is used, it means that the records will be confidentially sealed from general public view, but they may still be consulted by courts, law enforcement personnel, or even by victims. Under no circumstances are Missouri arrest records or other criminal records completely destroyed.

Adults who were arrested in Missouri are eligible to have those arrest records expunged if the court determines that all of the following criteria are true:

  1. The arrest was based on false information,
  2. There is no probable cause for believing the individual committed the offense,
  3. No charges will be pursued as a result of the arrest,
  4. The subject of the arrest has no prior or subsequent misdemeanor or felony convictions,
  5. The subject of the arrest did not receive a suspended imposition of sentence for the offense for which the arrest was made, or for any offense related to the arrest,
  6. No civil action is pending relating to the arrest or to the records sought to be expunged.

If an individual arrested is charged but the charges do not result in a conviction (or the imposition of the sentence is suspended), the case records are closed (sealed) when the case is finished. The records can be made available to victims at their request so that those records can be used by the victim in their own court proceedings.

If the accused is found not guilty due to mental disease or defect (insanity), the case records are closed (sealed). Afterwards, only law enforcement agencies, child-care agencies, and/or facilities can access them.

For more information on Missouri expungements, see the following articles:

Process for Expunging Criminal Adult Arrest Records in Missouri

Do I Need an Attorney in Missouri to File for an Expungement or Petitions to Seal my Criminal Records?

Sealing Juvenile Criminal Records in Missouri

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