On behalf of Rosenblum Schwartz & Fry posted in Drug Crimes on Thursday, April 4, 2019.
A criminal conviction obviously yields multiple downsides. A felony charge in Missouri or elsewhere often brings a stringent behind-bars penalty. Indeed, even a comparatively minor misdemeanor offense can bring a months’-long jail term.
And then there can be ancillary exactions to deal with as well for a defendant. Various costs and fees can be punitively high. Mandatory substance abuse classes, imposed community service, periodic drug testing, harsh probationary terms – all these and more collectively play a factor in the punishment equation.
So too does the very fact of having a criminal record, which can make for a marked and enduring stigma. Individuals with a criminal history often suffer blowback when applying for work, seeking to secure housing, attempting to join the military – even trying to vote.
Such potentially lifelong impediments are what spur reformers across the country seeking a liberalized loosening of criminal law processes allowing for the sealing or erasure of criminal data for select ex-offenders. Those persons were typically involved with the justice system concerning relatively minor offenses (e.g., possession of a small amount of marijuana). Often, too, their criminal records reveal them as nonviolent and first-time offenders.
A recently released in-depth study shows that expunging the criminal records of such offenders is broadly beneficial. Relevant data indicate that persons with cleaned criminal slates “have extremely low subsequent crime rates, comparing favorably to the general population.” Moreover, they more easily secure meaningful employment, which is an obvious boon for taxpayers and the communities in which they live.
The referenced study stresses that the expungement process must be fully understood and easily accessed for it to yield optimal results. Reportedly, many would-be expungement candidates fail to follow through with applications owing to lack of clear information, perceived administrative constraints and other factors.
The criminal expungement process in Missouri can be candidly and confidentially discussed with experienced attorneys at an established St. Louis criminal defense law firm.