A bill was recently introduced to the Missouri state Senate that would modify the process of expunging a marijuana arrest from a person’s record in the Show-Me-State.
Senator Bob Dixon (R- Springfield), filed Senate Bill 451 on February 26. This legislation modifies provisions relating to petitions for the expungement of criminal records, and is one of multiple bills addressing the same issue in 2015. This is the bill that is reported to have the best chance of being approved this session.
This bill would benefit any person with non-violent and non-sexual offense records. If SB 451 is approved, it would permit almost all marijuana convictions to be expunged from all public records. This would allow a person who has had his or her record expunged to deny ever being convicted. Having a minor, non-violent marijuana arrest on record can prevent a person from being able to rent or buy a home, apply for a loan, or get a job. This is a problem when the person would otherwise not be considered a criminal.
The Missouri Bar Association was responsible for drafting this legislation, and it is supported by the Missouri Bar Board of Governors, The Missouri Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, and the Missouri Association of Prosecuting Attorneys.
The reason that this bill is believed to have the best chances of being approved is that it does not push the envelope for change too far. A person with a class A felony record would not be able to apply for expungement under SB 451. Also, if a person has a charge expunged, but is arrested again, the expunged record could be used against that person in court.
photo credit: ChiveTheBrigade