Springfield attorneys aim to help people expunge their criminal records

Published: Aug. 16, 2022 at 9:35 PM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - The “Clean Slate” program, held by the Springfield Metro Bar Association aims to help people clear their criminal records.

In 2018, Missouri changed the laws expanding the number of criminal offenses that can be removed or expunged from a person’s record. It went from 13 eligible offenses to 1,900.

“It’s life-changing. It’s something that relieves a tremendous burden that they’ve been carrying,” said Nate Dunville President of the Springfield Metro Bar Association.

He says the change in state laws could benefit the community.

“There’s no reason why we should have these people sitting on the sidelines who are willing and able to contribute,” he said.

Attorney Scott Pierson said, “It’s made for the person who made one or two mistakes maybe early on.”

He explains the timeframe in which a person has to wait to get their record cleaned went from 20 years to three years for a felony, and one year for a misdemeanor.

“You can have one felony expunged or you can have two misdemeanors expunged that include jail time. You can have an unlimited number of infractions,” he said.

Pierson says the type of crimes has been expanded.

“You can expunge any type of drug offense. Anything from that misdemeanor marijuana to felony trafficking on a very low level, you can get that expunged. As long as you’re not Pablo Escobar,” he said.

He says the law is designed to help convicted offenders have their rights restored to what they were before the time of arrest with maybe a few exceptions.

Pierson said, “I think on the state-wide level you going to be okay. It’s going to be a little bit murky on the federal level on whether or not you’re going to be able to possess or buy a firearm.”

“There’s a real incentive there that we’re giving people to say, hey, don’t be a repeat offender. Don’t make one mistake define the course you go the rest of your life because there’s a way you can steer back on course here,” said Dunville.

The next clinic will be held in October.

Attorneys will explain the laws and get those interested connected with someone who could provide legal help with little to no cost.

For more information, including registration click here.

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