People make mistakes. I get it. I've done tons of stupid stuff over the years. Sometimes it's just kids being kids. Admittedly, some mistakes that are made deserve consequences, I'm not denying that. If you do something terrible, you're probably going to be followed by that your whole life, and rightly so.

BUT. Let's say you did something stupid when you were a kid. A lady I know really well got arrested for shoplifting a pair of cheap earrings when she was 19. It was a stupid thing to do, and she immediately regretted it. To this day she says it's one of her regrets in life.  She's now in her forties, and even though she explains the incident every time she applies for a job... often times it hurts her candidacy.  More than once she's been in an interview, told them about the misdemeanor, and the interviewer said it was fine. Then, after they offer her the job, they have to rescind the offer because of some corporate policy about background checks.

Now I might be biased, but that seems like unnecessary. She's been a model citizen for over twenty years without even a parking ticket since then, so why should this keep coming back up? She paid her fines, she repaid society, and hasn't been a problem.

Well, it turns out there's a process called expunging. I had no idea that was a thing, and I don't think she did either, or she would have done something about this years ago.  Well, the process has been updated and expanded, and the changes are really going to help people like her. Here's the legalese:

(Sections 488.650, 561.026, and 610.140 RSMo.) A person is allowed to apply for the expungement of certain criminal records after 10 years have elapsed for a specified misdemeanor or 20 years have elapsed for a specified felony since the person has completed his or her imprisonment or any period of probation or parole. These additional requirements must also be met: the person has not been convicted of or been placed on probation for any misdemeanor or felony during that time, 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. EXPUNGEMENT OF CERTAIN CRIMINAL RECORDS – (Sections 488.650, 561.026, and 610.140 RSMo.) A person is allowed to apply for the expungement of certain criminal records after 10 years have elapsed for a specified misdemeanor or 20 years have elapsed for a specified felony since the person has completed his or her imprisonment or any period of probation or parole. These additional requirements must also be met: the person has not been convicted of or been placed on probation for any misdemeanor or felony during that time, 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.

So it looks like you can, in fact, get certain charges removed from your record. There are some circumstances, though. It can only be for certain charges (so probably not the major crimes or repeat offenders), and has to be ten to twenty years after the incident, you can't have been in trouble since then or pose any trouble, and you have to be fully paid up on fines or time served. This goes into effect in January of 2018.  So maybe for people like her, this will make life much easier. Maybe you know of some people who could use it!

Basically, you should call your lawyer, ask them about it, and see if your case qualifies.

Legally yours,
Behka