Are Criminal Records Public In Missouri?
Following the Revised Statute of Missouri, Section 43.531, criminal records are open to qualified members of the public for investigation, review, and statistical purposes under written agreements. This is to ensure the security of the criminal record information and the protection of the record subject’s privacy interests.
Criminal records in Missouri can mostly be accessed online and at the applicable law enforcement agencies in the state. In counties across the state, criminal records are available at the office of the Sheriff and the County Clerks of Court.
Certified criminal records in the custody of the state repository, the Missouri State Highway Patrol’s Criminal Justice Information Services Division repository, are available to entities. However, criminal intelligence and investigative information are not open to the public under Section 43.507. Also, criminal history information that has been expunged or sealed is not available to the public except in rare cases.
Section 43.540 of the Revised Statute of Missouri defines qualified entities as:
- A division of the government, political subdivision, or commission designated by law to issue or renew a license, registration of authority, or certification
- A division of the government, political subdivision, or commission designated by law to determine qualification on applications for government employment
- Any entity that is permitted to obtain criminal history record information under 28 CFR 20.33, including;
- Criminal justice agencies for the screening of applicants or employees for employment hired
- Federal agencies authorized to receive it following an executive order or federal statute
- Criminal justice agencies for background checks under the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS)
- Noncriminal justice governmental agencies that perform criminal justice delivery functions or data processing and information services for criminal justice agencies
- Private contractors under a specified agreement with a criminal justice agency or noncriminal justice governmental agencies that work with a governmental criminal justice agency
- For licensing or employment in line with federal law
- For publicity and issuance of press releases designed to effect the arrest of wanted criminals guilty of serious crimes
What Is Included In A Criminal Record In Missouri?
Criminal records in Missouri are formal documents that contain the criminal history information of persons apprehended or convicted of crimes in the state. The local and state law enforcement agencies, detention and correctional centers, and courts generate the information included in criminal records. These include:
- The full name and aliases of the person named on the record
- A set of fingerprints
- Physical definers such as race, sex, hair color, eye color, height
- Past criminal offenses
- Prior and present warrants
- Notations of arrests, detentions, and indictments
- Conviction records
- Incarceration and jail details
- Probation records
- Formal criminal charges
- Dispositions arising from criminal charges, such as sentencing, correctional supervision, and release
How To Look Up My Criminal Records In Missouri?
Criminal records are available at the Missouri State Highway Patrol’s Criminal Justice Information Services Division, the state custodian of criminal history information in the state of Missouri. The Missouri State Highway Patrol (MSHP) is responsible for the collation and maintenance of criminal records. The MSHP also has a Missouri Automated Criminal History Site (MACHS), where qualified persons can request criminal records online. Interested persons may also query the repository for criminal records by mail.
Criminal justice agencies generate the criminal history information maintained by the Missouri State Highway Patrol’s Criminal Justice Information Services Division based on the criminal activities of individuals. The CJIS Division provides access to criminal record information and background checks in two forms, namely:
- A personal identifier or name-based search, which provides information based on the name, social security number, and date of birth of the record’s subject
- Fingerprint search which provides information based on a fingerprint comparison of the requestor’s fingerprints with the arrest fingerprints on the record with the Missouri State Highway Patrol, CJIS Division.
A name-based search, also known as a personal identifier search, requires the applicant to pay $14.00 per application. The background check results are regarded as “possible match” and will contain only open records. The CJIS Division defines open record details as:
- Records containing convictions,
- Arrest information, not more than 30 days old from the date of arrest
- Prosecutor filed charges with a pending final disposition from the court
- Records that include a suspended imposition of sentence (S. I. S.) in the period probation
A name-based search may be processed online through the Missouri Automated Criminal History Site (MACHS) or by mail. Applicants sending mail-in applications should print and complete the "Request for Criminal Record Check Form, SHP–158.
Requestors must provide the record’s subject date of birth or social security number for the processing of the application.
For a fingerprint-based search, the applicant should complete the fingerprint card (FD–258). The fingerprint fee is $20.00 per application, excluding the Department of Social Services for foster care placement, under Section 210.487 RSMo and conceal-carry weapons permit under Section 571.101 RSMo. These two cost $14.00 per request. A fingerprint-based background check search provides complete or closed records for the requestor. Complete or closed records include:
- All criminal history information, including arrests for charges, filed or not filed
- Charges that were dismissed, nolle prossed, or found not guilty in a court of law
- Suspended imposition of sentence (S. I. S.) after the period of probation is over
The required fee is payable by money order or check to the “State of Missouri - Criminal Record System Fund” and should be submitted together with the request. Cash payment will not be accepted. For applications from outside the United States, applicants should make payment by money order in U.S. dollars. Requestors must pay for return postage for applications requiring other than standard return mail such as U. P. S., Federal Express, and overnight.
Requestors may pay an additional $2.00 fee for the CJIS Division to notarize the results of a personal identifier search or fingerprint-based search.
The processing time for name-based search and fingerprint-based search requests received by mail is approximately 4–6 weeks.
Mail criminal records applications to:
Justice Information Services Division
Post Office Box 9500
Jefferson City, MO 65102
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (F. B. I.) also provides access to open criminal records. Persons that are not authorized by the Missouri State Statute or Missouri VECHS program may submit fingerprints together with an $18.00 fee directly to the F. B. I.
Individuals may also request certified county-wide criminal records from the Sheriff’s office in the county of residence. Also, for criminal court records, check the Missouri Courts Casenet portal.
Applicants residing outside Missouri may contact the local law enforcement agency in their state for fingerprinting. Personal identifying information and fingerprints must be completed on an F. B. I. Standardized Applicant Fingerprint Card (FD–258). Both electronic and ink fingerprint images and are acceptable. However, the CJIS Division does not permit electronic transmission from agencies outside of Missouri. The filled-out applicant fingerprint card should be mailed with applicable fees to:
The Missouri State Highway Patrol, CJIS Division,
Post Office Box 9500,
Jefferson City, MO, 65102–9500.
Applicants may also reach out to Missouri’s contracted fingerprint vendor, IDEMIA, for guidance at (844)543–9712. Applicants may mail the completed applicant fingerprint card to IDEMIA for electronic submission to the Missouri State Highway Patrol, which may speed up the processing time. For further inquires, contact the MSHP CJIS Division at (573) 526–6153.
How Can I Get My Criminal Record For Free In Missouri?
Missouri does not provide options for retrieving copies of criminal records for free, but there are fee waivers for specific entities that qualify. The Missouri Volunteer and Employee Criminal History Service (VECHS) program developed by the Missouri State Highway Patrol, CJIS Division, enables non-governmental entities that meet specific qualifying requirements to retrieve Missouri and federal criminal records at a lesser cost.
Qualified entities are persons or organizations that provide some care or care placement services for children, the aged, and individuals with special needs. These persons or organizations are qualified to participate in the Missouri VECHS program. “Care,” in this sense, includes education, treatment, instruction, training, supervision, or recreation.
To apply for the Missouri VECHS program, fill out an application (SHP–980) and User Agreement (SHP–982). The filled-out application together with a current Missouri business license must be submitted to:
MSHP - CJIS Division
Attn: Missouri VECHS Programi888888
Post Office Box 9500
Jefferson City, MO 65102–9500
For questions or directions, contact the Noncriminal Justice Agency Auditor/Trainers at (573) 526–6153 (ext. 5098) or send an email to MACHS@mshp.dps.mo.gov.
Qualified entities should fill out the Application (SHP–980), describing the functions of the agency, organization, or school performs that particularly serves the elderly, children, or persons with special needs.
The User Agreement (SHP–982) indicates an understanding that the criminal record gotten through this program is to be used for the right purpose and must be maintained securely and confidentially. The entity representative or head must sign it.
The processing time is approximately two weeks from the date of receipt. If approved, the qualified entity will be given the program Agency Identification Code (O. C. A.), Originating Agency Routing Identifier (O. R. I.), statement form, waiver agreement, and fingerprint services form.
How To Search Criminal Records Online In Missouri?
Missouri provides a Missouri Automated Criminal History Site (MACHS), where qualified persons can request open criminal records online through a name-based search or a fingerprint-based search. For each name-based search done through MACHS, a $14.00 fee is charged, plus a $1.25 processing fee.
Requestors must create an individual or business account or log in to a registered account to use MACHS. To create an account, fill the form on the screen and click submit.
With the MACHS Fingerprint Search Portal, individuals interested in a fingerprint-based criminal background check can schedule an appointment online to be fingerprinted by IDEMIA, the fingerprint services vendor for the state. Applicants may also call IDEMIA at (844)543–9712 to book an appointment. IDEMIA uses livescan to capture the record subject’s fingerprints electronically and transmit them to the MSHP for processing. However, IDEMIA does not have access to criminal history records. A fingerprint-based background search is processed from seven to ten business days. The background check results will be sent by mail to the applicant.
IDEMIA’s service charge is $8.50 per person. Hence, a state background check using IDEMIA will cost $28.50 per person and federal background check (for authorized entities) will cost $41.75 per applicant ($20.00 + $13.25 + $8.50). The MACHS Fingerprint Search Portal has a list of fingerprint locations.
Records that are considered public may be accessible from some third-party websites. These websites often make searching simpler, as they are not limited by geographic location, and search engines on these sites may help when starting a search for a specific or multiple records. To begin using such a search engine on a third-party or government website, interested parties usually must provide:
- The name of the person involved in the record, unless said person is a juvenile
- The location or assumed location of the record or person involved. This includes information such as the city, county, or state that the person resides in or was accused in
Third-party sites are independent of government sources and are not sponsored by these government agencies. Because of this, record availability on third-party sites may vary.
How To Get Criminal Records Expunged In Missouri?
Under Revised Statute of Missouri 610.140, persons once convicted of certain offenses in Missouri may appeal to have their criminal records expunged at the court where the person was charged or found guilty. Expungement, in this sense, refers to the deletion of an ex-offender’s criminal records from public access. These records may include arrest, plea, trial, or conviction on criminal cases decided within the state. When a record is expunged, the record subject can lawfully deny ever being convicted of the expunged crime.
Persons seeking expungement must meet up with the following criteria:
- Not less than seven years have passed since the completion of a sentence or probation for if the offense is a felony, and not less than three years have passed since the completion of a sentence or probation if the offense is a misdemeanor, municipal offense, or infraction.
- The person remained crime-free during the waiting period.
- The person has fulfilled all obligations of any disposition, including the payment of any restitution or fines.
- The person does not have charges pending.
- The person’s conduct demonstrates that the petitioner is not a threat to the public safety of the state.
- The expungement is in line with the public welfare and the interests of justice warrant the expungement.
Individuals may be ineligible for criminal record expungements if guilty of any of the following:
- Class A felony offense;
- Felony offenses where death is an element of the offense
- Dangerous felony as defined in section 556.061
- An offense that requires the offender to register as a sex offender
- Assault felony or misdemeanor or offense of domestic assault or felony offense of kidnapping
- Any offense eligible for expungement under section 610.130
- Under the influence related traffic, aircraft, or boating offense as defined in section 577.001,
- Violations of state, county or municipal laws and ordinance relating to the operation of motor vehicles committed by an individual required to have a commercial driver’s license
Other offenses ineligible for expungements are listed in 610.140
Eligible persons can file a petition in the court where the case was heard by following these steps:
- The petitioner should name as defendants all law enforcement agencies, prosecuting or circuit attorneys, courts, central state repositories of criminal records, municipal prosecuting attorneys, and any other entities that may possess the records subject to expungement. The court’s order of expungement will not affect an entity that is not named as a defendant on the petition. The petition should also include the following information on the petitioner and the case:
- Full name
- Driver’s license number, if applicable
- Current address
- The offenses the petitioner wishes to expunge
- The estimated date the petitioner was charged for each offense
- The name of the county or municipality where the petitioner was charged for each offense
- The name of the court and court case number for each offense
- Petitioners should fill the appropriate form on the Missouri courts website:
CR 145 Petition for Expungement of Arrest Records Form: For expungement of arrest records on a specific crime where the applicant was involved. All agencies that have the records in custody must be indicated by checking the appropriate box(es).
Petition for Expungement Form: For expungement of conviction, trial, plea, and arrest records. All agencies that have the records in custody must be indicated by checking the appropriate boxes.
Petition for Expungement - Mistaken Identity: For the expunction of records in a dismissed case of mistaken identity. Such persons are to fill out the form appropriately and file the completed form with the court in the county where the mistaken identity arrest or court records exist.
- Together with the applicable forms, the petitioner should submit a $250 surcharge and file it with the court. The judge may waive this surcharge if it is ascertained that the petitioner is indigent and cannot afford the fee.
- During the court hearing for the petition for expungement, the victim of the offense(s) listed in the petition will have the opportunity of being heard, and the court may give a verdict based solely on the victim’s testimony.
- If the court ascertains that the petitioner meets all the requirements, and the expungement is approved, the court will launch an order of expungement within six months of the petition filing. However, if the court does not approve the petition for expungement, the court will issue a dismissal.
- Once approved, a copy of the expungement order is provided to the petitioner, and the appropriate law enforcement agencies. When the custodians receive the order, they will then close the records subject to the order. The central repository will also send a request to the Federal Bureau of Investigation to expunge the records from its files.
Expunged records and files are confidential and only accessible by the person named on the record or by order of the court for an acceptable cause shown. Also, the petitioner’s rights and privileges will be restored upon issuance of the order of expungement. However, the expunged offense may be regarded as a prior offense in determining a sentence for any crime the person is found guilty of committing after the expungement.
Note that a person may only be granted the expungement of a maximum of two misdemeanor offenses or law violations, and a maximum of one felony offense in a lifetime. However, a person may be granted expungement for any number of infractions.
Who Can See My Expunged Criminal Record In Missouri?
Expunged criminal records in Missouri are deleted from public view but are still accessible by the court where the expungement was granted. Also, law enforcement agencies and specific employers can access expunged records. A person may be required to reveal an expunged offense in any of the following situations:
- When applying for a permit, license, or certificate or issued by the state of Missouri to practice a profession
- During the issuance of a license for approved gaming activities under chapter 313
- During the issuance of a permit for weapons and firearms under chapter 571
- When applying for a paid or unpaid employment with an agency licensed under chapter 313 including an emergency services provider, law enforcement agency, or a state-operated lottery
- Employment with any federally insured credit union, savings institution or bank or or or an associated institution or credit union in agreement with 12 U.S. C. Section 1785 and 12 U.S. C. Section 1829
- Employment with any organization engaged in the business of insurance or any other employer that is mandated not to employ applicants with certain criminal convictions under federal or state laws, including corresponding rules and regulations,