September 05, 2018
Author: Galen Beaufort
Organization: City of Kansas City, Missouri
The Missouri Sunshine Law is codified in Chapter 610 of the Revised Statutes of Missouri. Chapter 610 is entitled “Governmental Bodies and Records”. Sections 610.1001 through 610.200 are that portion of the Missouri Sunshine Law that contains the statutory rules governing law enforcement records. For reference, those statutory provisions are set out in their entirety at the end of this discussion. For easier reference, certain statutory provisions will also be set out in that portion of the text in which they are being discussed.
The Missouri Sunshine Law balances openness and transparency in a number of aspects of government and the records government keeps with the limited need to keep certain public records, and the information they contain, closed to public access. In the Missouri Sunshine Law, the ability (or requirement) to close a public record is the exception, not the rule. Special circumstances must first exist for a public record to be considered a closed record. Those special circumstances are those in which the Missouri General Assembly has concluded that the public’s interests are better protected by allowing, or mandating, that certain records be closed.
II. Liberal Interpretation in Favor of Records Being Open
Public records of public governmental bodies, even law enforcement records, are governed by a public policy of “openness” or transparency. That public policy of “openness” or transparency is clear in the statutory provisions of the Missouri Sunshine Law, in all appellate court decisions applying or interpreting the Missouri Sunshine Law and in Missouri Attorney General Opinions applying or interpreting the Missouri Sunshine Law.
§610.011.1 provides that: “It is the public policy of this state that . . . records . . . of public governmental bodies be open to the public unless otherwise provided by law. Sections 610.010 to 610.200 shall be liberally construed and their exceptions strictly construed to promote this public policy.” §610.011.2 then further provides: “Except as otherwise provided by law . . . all public records of public governmental bodies shall be open to the public for inspection and copying . . . .”
Missouri appellate courts consistently uphold this legislative intent of openness and liberally construe the provisions of the Missouri Sunshine Law that come before them in favor of openness of public records. An early example of such an appellate opinion is B.W. Acceptance Corp. v. Benack, 423 SW2d 215, 218 (Mo. App. E.D. 1967). Missouri Attorney General Opinions consistently recite and apply this basic premise that the Missouri Sunshine Law is to be liberally construed in favor of openness. See, e.g., Mo. Attorney General Opinions 330-71 (1973) and 10-75 (1975). The converse of the rule of liberal construction in favor of openness is the rule of strict, or narrow, construction of those exceptions that allow for a public record to be closed set out in §610.011.1. See, Tipton v. Barton, 747 SW2d 325, 330 (Mo. App. E.D. 1988) and MacLachlan v. McNary, 684 SW2d 534, 537 (Mo. App. E.D. 1984).
It is against this backdrop of “openness”, and this rule of strict, or narrow, construction of exceptions that allow a public record to be closed, that every analysis of whether a law enforcement record is open or closed must begin. As with other “public records”, certain law enforcement records, or certain information contained in them, are allowed (or required) to be closed; sometimes categorically, other times when specified circumstances exist. But, even with a law enforcement record, when posed with a question of whether that public record is open or closed, one begins the analysis with the assumption that it is an open. Then one searches for a specific provision within the Missouri Sunshine Law that allows, or requires, that it be closed.
III. Distinctions Between “Incident Report”, “Arrest Report” and “Investigative Report” and Duty to Maintain Certain Law Enforcement Records
Although the Missouri Sunshine Law does not create many obligations to create documents, §610.100.2 arguably does. §610.100.2 requires state, county and municipal law enforcement agencies to “maintain” records of “all incidents reported to the agency, investigations and arrest made by such law enforcement agency”. So, three distinguishable categories of reports are characterized by §610.100: 1) incident report, 2) arrest report and 3) investigative report. Each category of report has different rules for when it is to be considered to be an open record and when it is to be considered a closed record. A law enforcement agency cannot circumvent the Missouri Sunshine Law by simply not creating or keeping these required categories of records when doing so is appropriate.
A. Incident Reports
§610.100.1(4) defines an “incident report” to be a record of a law enforcement agency consisting “of the date, time, specific location, name of the victim and immediate facts and circumstances surrounding the initial report of a crime or incident, including any logs of reported crimes, accidents and complaints maintained by that agency”. It is important to note that an “incident report” is not defined by the law enforcement agency’s choice of a title or heading to place at the top of the first page of the document. Rather, an “incident report” is defined by its chronology in the law enforcement agency’s reporting process and by the information recorded. The general rule is that incident reports are open records. §610.100.2.
But there are exceptions to this general rule that incident reports are open. Most of those exceptions are set out in §610.100.3.
§610.100.3 provides that if the incident report contains “information that is reasonably likely to pose a clear and present danger to the safety of any victim, witness, undercover officer or other person”, then that information in the incident report can be considered a “closed” portion of the incident report and redacted. §610.100.3 also provides that if the incident report contains information that would “jeopardize a criminal investigation, including records which would disclose the identity of a source wishing to remain confidential or a suspect not in custody”, then that information in the incident report can be considered “closed” and be redacted. §610.100.3 also creates an exception for information that “would disclose techniques, procedures or guidelines for law enforcement investigations or prosecutions”. Such information can also be considered “closed” and be redacted.
§610.100.7 provides for the closing of that portion of an incident report that would identify the victim of a sexual offense as set out in Ch. 566, RSMo. The information in an incident report that identifies the victim cannot be redacted or closed by a low enforcement agency on its own instance. The victim must first request that his or her identity be kept confidential. And even then, such a request only protects the victim’s identity until a charge relating to the incident is filed.
Information closed pursuant to §610.100.3 can be accessed by certain persons in certain situations. Those rights to access or open the information closed in §610.100.3 are set out in §§610.100.4, and 610.100.6. §610.100.4 provides access to the closed information to a person involved in the incident or whose property is involved in the incident, that person’s family member within the first degree of consanguinity if that person is deceased or incompetent or that person’s attorney or an insurer. §610.100.6 provides a mechanism for opening information in an incident report believed to have been unlawfully closed by the law enforcement agency. The person must “apply” to the circuit court and convince the circuit court that the information in the incident report was unlawfully closed. Then, if the circuit court issues an order finding that the information in the incident report is actually an open record, the law enforcement agency must make the information available.
Courts have held that if a record of a law enforcement agency that contains information set out in the definition of an “incident report” also contains other information not described in the definition, that other information can be redacted from the record before it is made available to the public. State ex rel. Goodman v. St. Louis Board of Police Commissioners, 181 SW3rd 156 – 159 (Mo. App. E.D. 2005).
An original citizen complaint lodged with a law enforcement agency is considered to be an “incident report”. The citizen complaint does not have to be about the alleged commission of a crime or about an accident. For example, the term “incident report” has been held to be broad enough to cover an original citizen complaint about a law enforcement officer. Guyre v. City of Kirkwood, SW3rd 412, 415 (Mo. banc 2001); State ex rel. City of Springfield v. Brown, 181 SW3rd 219, 221 (Mo. App. S.D. 2005). So, an original citizen complaint about a police officer is an open record.
B. Arrest Reports
§610.100.1(2) defines an “arrest report” as a “record of a law enforcement agency of an arrest and of any detention or confinement incident thereto together with a charge therefor”. §610.100.1(1) then defines “arrest” to be the “actual restraint of the person of the defendant, whereby his or her submission to the custody of the officer, under authority of a warrant or otherwise for a criminal violation which results in the issuance of a summons or the person being booked”.
Initially, §610.100.2 makes an arrest report an open record. However, §610.100.2 then provides that all but on portion of the arrest report becomes a closed record if the person arrested is not charged with an offense within 30 days of arrest. The portion that does not become closed is any portion that reflects the “disposition”.
The arguments of “clear and present danger”, “jeopardizing a criminal investigation” or “disclosure of investigation or prosecution techniques, procedures or guidelines” set out in §610.100.3 described above, do not apply to an arrest report and, so, cannot be used to close an arrest report.
The provisions to access a closed record described above for an incident report, also apply to a closed arrest report.
C. Investigative Reports
§610.100.1(5) defines an “investigative report” to be a “record, other than an arrest or incident report, prepared by personnel of a law enforcement agency, inquiring into a crime or suspected crime either in response to an incident report or in response to evidence developed by law enforcement officers in the course of their duties”. Unlike an incident report or an arrest report, an investigative report is not initially an open record. §610.100.2 provides that investigative reports are closed up until the point in time that the investigation becomes “inactive”.
§610.100.1(3) than defines “inactive” to be an investigation in which no further action will be taken by a law enforcement agency or officer for any of the following reasons:
1.) a decision by the law enforcement agency not to pursue the case;
2.) the expiration of the time to file criminal charges pursuant to whatever statute of the limitations applies or the passage of ten years after the commission of the offense, whichever occurs first; or
3.) finality of the convictions of all persons convicted on the basis of the information contained in the investigative report by exhaustion of or expiration of all rights of appeal of such persons.
The abilities to close a record, or a portion of a record, set out in §610.100.3 described above, also apply to an investigative report after it has become an open record.
The provisions to access a closed record described above for an incident report, also apply to a closed investigative report. See §§610.100.4 and .6.
In addition, §610.100.5 provides that a person “may bring an action” in circuit court seeking to open all, or a portion of, an investigative report which would otherwise be properly considered a closed record. To prevail in such an action, the petitioner must convince the court that the benefit to disclosing the investigative report to the petitioner or the public “outweighs any harm to the public, to the law enforcement agency or any of its officers, or to any person identified in the investigative report in regard to the need for law enforcement agencies to effectively investigate and prosecute criminal activity”. The reviewing court can review the investigative report in camera before making its ruling.
Both a person considering filing a lawsuit seeking to open a closed investigative report and a law enforcement agency considering a person’s request to open a closed investigative report need to consider the consequences of not prevailing in such a lawsuit. §610.100.5 provides that the court “may” order the petitioner to pay the “reasonable and necessary costs and attorneys’ fees” of the law enforcement agency if the court decides that the decision of the law enforcement agency not to open the investigative report was substantially justified. Conversely, §610.100.5 provides that the court “may” order the law enforcement agency to pay the “reasonable and necessary costs and attorneys’ fees” of the petitioner if the court decides that the decision of the law enforcement agency not to open the investigative report was “substantially unjustified”. These provisions of §610.100.5 certainly do not require the court to order the nonprevailing party to pay the prevailing party’s “reasonable and necessary costs and attorneys’ fees” in every action; but, the possibility of that outcome should not be overlooked.
Other public governmental bodies conduct investigations and create records and documents of their investigations. However, this limited ability to close an “investigative report” afforded by §610.100.1(5) and §610.100.2 is limited to a “law enforcement agency”. There are other state, county and municipal agencies that conduct investigations. But, if they are not a “law enforcement agency”, the investigative reports are open records. See Scroggins v. Missouri Department of Social Services, 227 SW3d 498, 502 (Mo. App. W.D. 2007), in which the Court of Appeals held that the Department of Social Services is not a law enforcement agency because it did not have the power of arrest and, therefore, its investigative reports are open.
IV. Effect of Nolle Pros, Acquittal or Suspended Imposition of Sentence
A. General Rule
As a general rule, §610.105.1 that if a person is charged, but the charge is later nolle prossed or dismissed or the person accused is found not guilty or receives a suspended imposition of sentence, the “official records” pertaining to the case shall thereafter become closed when the case is finally terminated. §610.105.1. However, the court’s judgment or order, or the prosecutor’s final action, “may be accessed.”
This general rule creates a need for the courts, the prosecutors’ offices and the law enforcement agencies to have processes and procedures in place that will protect these “official records” as closed records at or very near the time that the case is finally terminated. This protection applies to both paper and electronic “official records”. Sometimes charges result from the efforts of administrative departments or divisions of a public governmental body or such charges are tracked by other administrative departments or divisions of a public governmental body. This protection should also apply to both paper and electronic “official records” that might be maintained in such other departments or divisions of a public governmental body. So, those departments or divisions also should have processes and procedure in place.
A number of exceptions to the above general rule exist.
Because the general rule in §610.105.1 applies only when the case is “finally terminated”, a charge that results in a suspended imposition of sentence with conditions imposed that must be met during a period of time will not “finally” terminate until the end of that period of time and, then, only if the court has not found that one of the conditions has not been met. So, the closure of the “official records” does not occur until the successful end of any time period during which any such conditions are imposed.
These records may still be accessed as provided in §610.120. Among those who can still access these records pursuant to §610.120 are:
• the defendant,
• criminal justice agencies for the administration of criminal justice pursuant to section 43.500,
• criminal justice employment, screening persons with access to criminal justice facilities, procedures, and sensitive information,
• to law enforcement agencies for issuance or renewal of a license, permit, certification, or registration of authority from such agency including but not limited to watchmen, security personnel, private investigators, and persons seeking permits to purchase or possess a firearm,
• those agencies authorized by section 43.543 to submit and when submitting fingerprints to the central repository,
• the sentencing advisory commission created in section 558.019 for the purpose of studying sentencing practices in accordance with section 43.507,
• to qualified entities for the purpose of screening providers defined in section 43.540,
• the department of revenue for driver license administration,
• the division of workers' compensation for the purposes of determining eligibility for crime victims' compensation pursuant to sections 595.010 to 595.075,
• the department of health and senior services for the purpose of licensing and regulating facilities and regulating in-home services provider agencies,
• federal agencies for purposes of criminal justice administration, criminal justice employment, child, elderly, or disabled care, and
• for such investigative purposes as authorized by law or presidential executive order.
If a defendant is found not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect, the official record becomes closed. But, §610.105.1 the further provides that the disposition may be accessed by law enforcement agencies, child-care agencies, facilities as described in §198.006 (convalescent, nursing and boarding homes), and in-home services provider agencies as defined in §660.250, in the manner established by section 610.120.
The Eastern District of the Missouri Court of Appeals has held that these provisions of §610.105 apply retrospectively to dispositions before their enactment. Martin v. Schmalz, 713 SW2nd 22 (Mo. App. E.D. 1986). But, the Western District has held that the provisions are prospective only. State v. Anding, 689 SW2nd 745 (Mo. App. W.D. 1985). At least for suspended sentences, the application appears to be prospective only; because in §610.106, the Missouri legislature provided a special process for closing of “official records” of a charge that resulted in a suspended imposition of sentences before September 28, 1981. That process requires the filing of a motion with the court seeking the closure of the “official records”.
In certain cases, otherwise closed by suspended imposition of sentence, the official record of the case remains accessible to the victim (or parents if a minor) for the purpose of the victim’s own judicial proceeding. §610.105.2. These cases include convictions under Chapter 566, RSMo, Sexual Offenses, and selected convictions under Chapter 568, RSMo, Offenses Against the Family.
It should be noted §610.105 does not require the “official records” of an initial charge to be closed as a result of an amendment of an initial charge to a lesser charge.
V. Daily Log
In addition to incident reports, arrest reports, and investigative reports, another category of law enforcement record was created and added to the Missouri Sunshine Law in 1995. That new category is the “daily log or record”. It is addressed in §610.200.
A “daily log or record” does not have to be maintained by a law enforcement agency. But, if a law enforcement agency maintains a daily log or record, §610.200 sets out what information it is to contain. The daily log is to record all suspected crimes, accidents, and complaints. If it is maintained, it is an open record, except that victim information shall be withheld if the crime is one under Chapter 566, RSMo, Sexual Offenses. §610.200(3)(b). The principle of Hyde v. City of Columbia, 637 S.W.2d 251, 263 and 269 (Mo. App. W.D. 1982), cert. denied, 459 U.S. 1226 (1983) should apply and also protect records when the victim can identify the suspect and the suspect is still at large.
VI. “9-1-1” Records
Telephone recordings, transcripts, and other records obtained by law enforcement through the 911 telephone service are closed records, except those portions consistent with those portions of an incident report that would be open. §610.150. The Missouri General Assembly chose the phrase “shall be inaccessible to the general public” in addition to the more common phrase “closed record” used throughout the rest of the Missouri Sunshine Law. “9-1-1” records may be released to law enforcement, to the Division of Worker’s Compensation or upon a court order based on a motion (which would translate into the filing of a petition if no case was pending) and good cause shown. §610.150.
VII. Court Actions to Compel the Release of Law Enforcement Records
Any person may bring an action in circuit court to compel the release of law enforcement records that would otherwise be closed. §610.100.5. The court may order the release of all, none, or a portion of the records for which release is sought. In making its decision, the court is to balance the benefit to the person bringing the action, or to the public, versus the harm to the public, law enforcement, or the people identified in the records. The court may assess costs and attorney fees for both parties to the person bringing the action. The court may alternatively assess costs and attorney fees against the law enforcement agency if its actions were “substantially unjustified.”
VIII. Confidentiality - Who, and Under What Circumstances, Can Closed Records Be Accessed
Under the Missouri Sunshine Law, the confidentiality of law enforcement records is really a function of the rules surrounding which records are open and closed and under what circumstances records that would otherwise be closed can be opened, in whole or in part, and by whom. Confidentiality of closed records is not absolute. The Missouri Sunshine Law provides for opening records that have been previously closed and it also provides for certain entities and agencies to be able to access information contained in closed records that remain closed. Those provisions are found in §610.120.
§610.120.1 starts out by telling us that records required to be closed are not to be destroyed; merely made inaccessible to the general public “and to all persons other than the defendant”. The closed records are to be removed from public access and “and shall be removed from the records of the courts, administrative agencies, and law enforcement agencies which are available to the public and shall be kept in separate records which are to be held confidential and, where possible, pages of the public record shall be retyped or rewritten omitting those portion of the record” which is to be closed. §610.120.2. If retyping or rewriting is not feasible, then redacting becomes the rule. §610.120.2.
§610.120.1 states that closed records may be accessed by certain persons and entities. §610.120.1 creates, in essence, a two-pronged test for accessing a closed record, both parts of which must be met to gain access:
1. The entity requesting access must be a group authorized by the statute to have such access.
2. The access must be for a proper purpose, as defined by statute.
The following examples are given in § 610.120 to explain who may have access to closed records:
• Criminal justice agencies for administration of criminal justice (§ 43.500(1), RSMo. sets out the definition), criminal justice employment, or screening persons for access to criminal justice facilities, procedures, or sensitive information;
• Law enforcement agencies for the issuance of licenses or permits for (but not limited to) watchmen, security guards, and private investigators, and firearms permits;
• Persons and entities authorized to submit records to the central registry in accordance with § 43.543, RSMo, but only when submitting fingerprints;
• The Sentencing Advisory Commission, § 558.019, RSMo, for the purpose of studying sentencing practices in accordance with § 43.507, RSMo.;
• Qualified entities for the purpose of screening providers defined in § 43.540, RSMo (care facilities background checks);
• The Department of Revenue for driver license administration;
• The Division of Workers’ Compensation for the purpose of determining eligibility for crime victims’ compensation in accordance with §§ 595.010—595.075, RSMo;
• The Department of Health and Senior Services for the purpose of licensing and regulating facilities and regulating in-home services provider agencies; and
• Federal agencies for purposes of criminal justice administration; criminal justice employment; child, elderly, or disabled care; and such investigative purposes as authorized by law or presidential executive order.
IX. Failure to Recite
§610.110 provides that a person whose record has been closed cannot be held guilty of perjury or giving a false statement by failing to reveal the closed record for any purpose, except under § 491.050, RSMo convictions used to affect credibility of witness, and § 610.120. RSMo.
X. Remedies and Penalties
A. Judicial Enforcement and Award of Attorneys’ Fees
§610.100.5 allows any person to petition the circuit court to require a law enforcement agency to open all, or a portion of an investigative report. §610.100.6, allows any person to petition the circuit court to require a law enforcement agency to open incident reports and arrest reports unlawfully closed.
As described earlier in an action seeking disclosure of all or a portion of an investigative report, §610.100.5 provides that the court “may” order the petitioner to pay the “reasonable and necessary costs and attorneys’ fees” of the law enforcement agency if the court decides that the decision of the law enforcement agency not to open the investigative report was substantially justified. Conversely, §610.100.5 provides that the court “may” order the law enforcement agency to pay the “reasonable and necessary costs and attorneys’ fees” of the petitioner if the court decides that the decision of the law enforcement agency not to open the investigative report was “substantially unjustified”. These provisions of §610.100.5 certainly do not require the court to order the non-prevailing party to pay the prevailing party’s “reasonable and necessary costs and attorneys’ fees” in every action.
As to lawsuits brought by persons asking the circuit court to require a law enforcement agency to open incident reports and arrest reports unlawfully closed, §610.100.6 provides that a person may “apply” to the circuit court for an order requiring a law enforcement agency to open an incident report or arrest reports believed to be unlawfully closed. If the court finds that the law enforcement officer or agency has “knowingly” violated the provisions of the Missouri Sunshine Law in making the decision to close the incident report or arrest report, the court award “reasonable and necessary costs and attorneys’ fees” to the person bringing the lawsuit.
B. Civil Fines
If the court finds that the officer or agency knowingly violated the law, it may impose a civil fine of up to $1,000 and up to $5,000 for a purposeful violation) and may order costs and attorney fees as provided in §610.027. See §610.100.6. Both decisions must be supported by a preponderance of evidence.
C. Criminal Penalties
Unlike the general public records law, which contains no criminal penalty, a violation of § 610.100, § 610.105, § 610.106, or § 610.120, is a class A misdemeanor. See §610.115. This would include not only failing to open a record, but also failing to close a record. Class A misdemeanors are those which include a sentence of more than six months in jail.
The Missouri Sunshine Law provides for two types of expungement proceedings. One proceeding is for the expungement of an arrest record. The other proceeding is for the expungement of a broader set of records of a criminal proceeding which can include all records of an arrest, plea, trial, or conviction pertaining to a limited set of offenses.
A. Expungement of Record of Arrest
The procedure for a request to have a record of arrest expunged and the process concerning what happens after an expungement order is entered are set out in §§610.122 – 610.126. A verified petition for expungement has to be filed in the civil division of the circuit court in the county where the arrest occurred. §610.123.1. §610.123.1(1) – (7) set out the essential information that must be set out in the petition. That information includes:
1) The petitioner's full name, sex, race, date of birth, driver's license number, Social Security number, address at the time of the arrest;
(2) The offense charged against the petitioner;
(3) The date the petitioner was arrested;
(4) The name of the county where the petitioner was arrested and if the arrest occurred in a municipality, the name of the municipality;
(5) The name of the agency that arrested the petitioner;
(6) The case number and court of the offense; and
(7) Petitioner's fingerprints on a standard fingerprint card.
§610.122 then lists the determinations that the court must make before ordering the expungement of an arrest record. Those determinations are:
(1) The arrest was based on false information;
(2) There is no probable cause, at the time of the action to expunge, to believe the individual committed the offense;
(3) No charges will be pursued as a result of the arrest;
(4) The person arrested has no prior or subsequent misdemeanor or felony convictions;
(5) The person arrested did not receive a suspended imposition of sentence for the offense for which the arrest was made or for any offense related to the arrest; and
(6) No civil action is pending relating to the arrest or the records sought to be expunged.
§610.123.2 provides that all law enforcement agencies, courts, prosecuting attorney, central state depositories of criminal records or others who the petitioner believes has the arrest records that he wants expunged have to be named as defendants. §610.123.2 further provides that only those named as defendants are affected by any expungement order that issues.
Rules 155.01 – 155.05, Mo.R.Civ.P., govern an action for the expungement of arrest records. Rule 155.05 requires the clerk of each circuit court to make available without charge a “Petition for Expungement of Arrest Records”.
Unlike a “closed record”, records ordered to be expunged are to actually be destroyed and if stored electronically, then removed from those electronic files. §610.124.1. If the record of the arrest is contained in a record book of a “permanent nature” such that it cannot or should not be destroyed in its entirety, then redacting is required. §§610.124.1.
If a person subject to an order to expunge an arrest record “knowingly fails to expunge or obliterate, or releases arrest information which has been ordered expunged” pursuant to an action under §610.123, then that person can be found guilty of a class B misdemeanor. In addition, if a person subject to an order to expunge an arrest record knowingly uses the arrest information for financial gain, that person can be found guilty of a class D felony.
B. Expungement of More Than Just the Record of Arrest
The procedure for a request to have a more than just the record of arrest expunged and the process concerning what happens after an expungement order is entered are set out in §§610.140. A petition for this broader expungement has to be filed in a court in the county in which the person was found guilty. §610.140.1. §610.140.4 sets out the essential information that must be set out in the petition.
This broader expungement proceeding is only available for records relating to a limited list of offenses. Those eligible offenses are set out in §610.140.2. The eligible offenses include felony and misdemeanor offenses of passing a bad check, fraudulently stopping payment on a check or other financial instrument or fraudulently using a credit or debit card. Other eligible offenses include negligent burning or exploding (§569.065), negligently setting fire to cropland, grassland, prairie or woodland (§569.067), tampering in the second degree (§569.090), property damage in the second degree if not done to defraud an insurer (§569.120.1(1)), gambling (§572.020), disturbing the peace (§574.020), public drunkenness (§574.075) and certain types of peace disturbances (§574.010).
To issue this broader expungement order, the court must conclude that each of the following criteria is met:
(1) It has been at least twenty years if the offense is a felony, or at least ten years if the offense is a misdemeanor, municipal offense, or infraction, since the person making the application completed:
(a) Any sentence of imprisonment; or
(b) Any period of probation or parole;
(2) The person has not been found guilty of a misdemeanor or felony, not including violations of the traffic regulations provided under chapters 304 and 307, during the time period specified for the underlying offense in subdivision (1) of this subsection;
(3) The person has paid any amount of restitution ordered by the court;
(4) The circumstances and behavior of the petitioner warrant the expungement; and
(5) The expungement is consistent with the public welfare. §§610.140.5 and 610.140.6.
Upon the issuance of an expungement order, each entity named in the petition is to destroy the records ordered expunged/ §610.140.6.
XII. Free Criminal Background Checks
§610.103 provides that certain criminal background checks must be performed and the results provided without charge in certain circumstances. Those circumstances are when the criminal background check is requested in connection with gaining employment, housing or other services or benefit of a homeless veteran who has been honorably discharged.