Cleaning your record of that first DWI
Description: Missouri law allows individuals to have their first and only DWI expunged from their records.
If you have a 10-year-old 1st time offense for a DWI, you have the chance to have it expunged which erases it from the record as if it never existed. Recent changes in Missouri law under Section 610.140 make it highly advantageous to get this process done.
How do you qualify?
*You pled guilty at least 10 years ago;
*You pled guilty or were convicted for a first alcohol-related driving offense (misdemeanor or county or city ordinance violation);
*You did not receive DWI while driving a commercial vehicle;
*You have not been convicted of any other alcohol-related driving offense.
If you meet this criterion, you may apply to the county court – the one in which you pled guilty or were sentenced — for an order to expunge from all official records of all of your arrest, plea, trial or conviction.
Benefits of DWI expungement
The benefits of having your DWI expunged are significant. They include the following:
*No need to disclose the conviction (in most employment related situations).
*It will not be perjury if you don’t admit it.
*Starting over with a clean slate.
No obligation to reveal the conviction
If curious, here’s how the statute reads when it comes to your responsibility to reveal your conviction: “No person as to whom such order has been entered shall be held thereafter under any provision of any law to be guilty of perjury or otherwise giving a false statement by reason of his or her failure to recite or acknowledge such arrest, plea, trial, conviction or expungement in response to any inquiry made of him or her for any purpose whatsoever and no such inquiry shall be made for information relating to an expungement under this section.”
As you can see, the slate is wiped clean for purposes of most legal matters. As to revealing your DWI to a future school or employer, you are under no legal obligation to report it when filling out that application form. However, for some employment applications, the devil may be in the details of how the question is being asked. You may want to consult an employment attorney if you have any doubts.
How will the expungement get done?
Your lawyer will conduct a background check of you and file the proper forms in the county where the conviction occurred. Then you and your lawyer will appear in court at a hearing.
If after the hearing, the Court determines that you have not been convicted of any subsequent alcohol-related driving offense; that there has not been any other subsequent alcohol-related enforcement contacts as defined in section 302.525; and that there has not been other alcohol-related driving charges or alcohol-related enforcement actions pending at the time of the hearing on the application, the court shall enter an order of expungement of the first-time DWI.
Once the order of expungement is granted by the court, the records and files maintained in any administrative or court proceeding in an associate or circuit division of the circuit court under shall be confidential. The records will only be available to the parties or by order of the court for good cause shown. The statute specifically states that the effect of such order shall be to restore the person to the status he or she occupied prior to such arrest, plea or conviction, as if such event had never taken place.
Keep in mind that a person shall only be entitled to one expungement pursuant to this section of the statute. However, nothing contained in this section shall prevent the director from maintaining such records in order to ensure that an individual receives only one expungement pursuant to this section. The director will have access to the information for the purpose of informing the proper authorities of the contents of any record maintained pursuant to this section.
Please note that the provisions of this expungement statute does not apply to any individual who has been issued a commercial driver’s license or is required to possess a commercial driver’s license issued for Missouri or by any other state.
Expungement filing fee costs
An attorney will help you prepare your documents needed for the filing of the expungement petition and represent you at your hearing. In addition to the attorney fee, there will be the cost of a filing fee. The filing fees for expungement under Section 610.140 vary from county to county. Please contact us so we can get you the most recent information regarding filing fees.