Expungement Attorney in Kansas City, Kansas
According to Harvard University’s Access to Justice Lab, nearly one-third of American adults have been arrested by the age of 23. Having an arrest or criminal record can make life difficult in obtaining employment and public benefits, including housing.
In Kansas and Missouri, if you have a criminal record plaguing you, even if it is for a minor offense that you were caught up in as a youth, an expungement process exists to hide your record from public view. You will no longer have to answer “yes” if a prospective employer asks if you’ve ever been convicted of a crime. For everyday, practical purposes, expungement means your crime never existed.
Of course, there are qualifications and waiting periods for obtaining expungement, and the process is not guaranteed. You really need the help of an experienced expungement attorney to walk you through the process and help you overcome any legal or administrative hurdles you may face.
If you’re in the Kansas City, Kansas, or Kansas City, Missouri areas, contact me at the Richman Law Office LLC. Let’s discuss your case, verify your qualifications, and begin the process of expunging your criminal past.
Understanding Expungement: Benefits & Limitations
The expungement of a criminal record in Kansas mostly concerns public visibility. Your criminal record, once expunged, will no longer be accessible to the general public. However, law enforcement agencies and other government bureaus will still have access. If you apply for employment with one of those agencies, your record will be viewable, so you will have to own up to your past, unlike when being interviewed by a private business.
The Kansas Bureau of Investigation will be notified once your expungement is approved, and it will forward the expungement order to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Kansas Secretary of Corrections, and any Kansas law enforcement agency involved in the original conviction.
The KBI explains that “expungement will seal the event from public view; however, it does not completely remove the event from [your] record. A select group of agencies has statutory authority to access expunged information.”
Expungement in Kansas also does not relieve you of any requirement you have to register as an offender if you have been ordered to do so. If the expungement is for a felony, there is no guarantee that your right to purchase firearms will be restored due to restrictive federal and state laws.
In Missouri, expunged cases are removed electronically from all files maintained within the state. The only way for someone in the public to access your expunged record is by obtaining a court order. Your record will, however, remain available to criminal justice agencies for use in screening applicants for professional licenses or employment in sensitive areas such as law enforcement.
Though expungement under Missouri law allows you to purchase firearms, you will be blocked during the background check because the FBI does not recognize gun rights for individuals with expunged criminal records.
If you are required to register as a sex offender, you are ineligible for expungement, so you will need to continue your registration.
Expungement Eligibility & Petition Process
Though there are similarities, eligibility for expungement and the process involved does differ in Kansas and Missouri.
Certain crimes are permanently ineligible for expungement in Kansas. These crimes often involve the death of another person (including murder and manslaughter, voluntary or involuntary). Sex crimes and indecent liberties with a child, along with child abuse, are also excluded, as are rape and sodomy in general.
There are also waiting periods to apply following satisfaction of all terms of your sentence. The period is three years for traffic violations, misdemeanors, and Class D and E felonies. For Class A, B, C, and other “severe” felonies (including DUIs), the wait is five years. For prostitution, or what is now called “selling sexual relations,” a one-year waiting period is mandated.
Once you’ve met your eligibility requirements in Kansas, and have no criminal cases pending, and have not been arrested or charged during the previous two years, you can file a Petition for Expungement with the District Court. The District Attorney will review the petition and either agree or dissent to granting the expungement. The petition will then go before the judge, who will determine the fate of your request.
In Missouri, ineligible offenses pretty much mirror those in Kansas, but instead of enumerated sex crimes, the general category of having to register as a sex offender is listed. Also ineligible are any felony offense of assault, misdemeanor or felony offense of domestic assault, or a felony kidnapping offense.
In Missouri, the waiting periods were shortened in August 2021. There is now a three-year waiting period for felonies, but just one year for misdemeanors. During these waiting periods, all sentencing and probation requirements must have been satisfied with no new arrests or charges filed.
The process in Missouri is also petition-based, but it adds an additional requirement. In your petition, you must name as defendants any persons or entities you believe may have records regarding the offenses, violations, and infractions outlined in the petition. Defendants have 30 days to file an objection to your petition, and the court must hold a hearing within 60 days of receiving the objections. If there are no objections, the hearing must be held within 30 days.
Serving Kansas City, Kansas
One criminal conviction can change your life, but one call to me at the Richman Law Office LLC may put you on the path to clearing your record. I can guide you as you seek to have your criminal or traffic offense expunged. I am proud to represent clients throughout the areas of Kansas City, Kansas, and Kansas City, Missouri.