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Zoey_ JD
Zoey_ JD, JustAnswer Criminal Law Mentor
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 24990
Experience:  Admitted to NYS Criminal defense bar in 1989. Extensive arraignment, hearing, trial experience.
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What can I do to have a misdemeanor sex offense removed from

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What can I do to have a misdemeanor sex offense removed from my record. I didn't plead guilty to the crime but ran out of money for my lawyer and had to take a plea that said I plead guilty to the fact they had evidence against me.
Hello Jacustomer,

Unfortunately, I don't have good new for you. The newly revised Missouri expungement law specifies just what offenses are eligible for an expungement. The list is very limited, and sex offenses are not eligible.

The Bill that was passed containing the new Expungement law is on the web. Here's what it says:


561.026, and 610.140)

"A person is allowed to apply for the expungement of certain criminal records after 10 years have elapsed for a specified misdemeanor and 20 years have elapsed for a specified felony since the person has completed his or her imprisonment or and period of probation or parole if he or she has not been found guilty of any misdemeanor or felony, except specified traffic violations, during that time and has paid any amount of restitution ordered by the court, the circumstances and behavior of the petitioner warrant the expungement, and the expungement is consistent with the public welfare.

Any person may apply to any court in which he or she was found guilty of any felony or misdemeanor offense of passing a bad check under Section 570.120, fraudulently stopping payment of an instrument under Section 570.125, or fraudulently using a credit or debit device under Section 570.130; any misdemeanor offense of negligent burning or exploding under Section 569.065, negligently setting a fire under Section 569.067, second degree tampering under Section 569.090, second degree property damage under Section 569.120, trespass in the first degree under Sections 569.140 and 569.145, gambling under Section 572.020, or drunkenness or intoxication under Section 574.075; or any class B or C misdemeanor offense of peace disturbance under Section 574.010 for an order to expunge the records of the arrest, plea, trial, or conviction. A person may apply to have one or more eligible offenses expunged if all the offenses are listed on the petition. The petition must name as defendants all law enforcement agencies, courts, prosecuting or circuit attorneys, central state repositories of criminal records, or others whom the petitioner has reason to believe may possess the records subject to expungement.

If the court enters an order of expungement, a copy of the order must be provided to each entity named in the petition, and each entity must destroy any record in its possession relating to any offense listed upon receipt of the order. Once expunged, the court records and files will be confidential and only available
to the parties or by order of the court for good cause shown.

The expungement also restores all rights to the person as if the crime had never occurred. The central repository must request the Federal Bureau of Investigation to expunge the records from its files. However, a person granted an expungement must disclose any expunged offense when the disclosure is necessary to
complete certain applications for professional licenses, certificates, or permits issued by the state; any license issued by the Missouri Gaming Commission; or paid or unpaid employment with an entity licensed by the commission, any state-operated lottery, or any emergency services provider, including any law
enforcement agency.

A person may be granted more than one expungement but may be granted only one expungement from the same court. The clerk of the court is required to assess a $100 surcharge on all petitions for expungement. Moneys collected are payable to the General Revenue Fund

So basically, a misdemeanor must be over for at least 10 years and must appear on the list above for you to be eligible for an expungement and then only if during that time there are no other offenses except for traffic offenses.

It would appear that you pled no-contest or took an Alford plea. However, in all respects but one, the sort of plea you took is a conviction and is punished as if you'd pled guilty. The one exception is that your plea cannot be used as an admission in a civil suit.

So about the only way to soften the effects of this on your record would be to apply for a pardon from the governor. This is nothing that would erase your record, but it would at least display as having been pardoned by the state's highest ranking political office, which can still help ease problems of discrimination. You can read more about a pardon here. They are difficult to get, but it's free to apply for one and you don't need a lawyer, so there's no reason not to give it a try.

I'm sorry for being the bearer of bad news but Missouri clearly wants its crimes to stick.

The list of felonies and misdemeanors that are eligible are in the statute above. You would have to petition the court naming every agency that may have a record of this conviction as a defendant. It would probably be a good idea to have a lawyer to prepare the petition and to represent you at the hearing, since there really are no guidelines to follow except the statute itself above.

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