What are Missouri Juvenile Court Records?
In Missouri, when minors under the age of eighteen years violate the penal code, the judiciary refers the criminal prosecution and punishment of the offender to the family court—the court has exclusive jurisdiction over juvenile cases (Section § 487.160, RSMo).. Law enforcement creates records containing information on the investigation, arrest, and indictment of the offender while the family court compiles documents created during court proceedings. These documents make up an individual’s juvenile record in Missouri, and the availability of these records to the public is subject to statutory provisions (Section § 211.321.3, RSMo)..
What Information is Contained In a Missouri Juvenile Record?
The details of a Missouri juvenile record vary with the agency that created the record and juvenile. Regardless, an individual authorized to inspect a juvenile record can expect to see the following information in a typical record:
- Personal information (name, age, sex, & address)
- Information on parents and legal guardians
- Educational history
- Case summary
- Summons & warrants
- Petitions, motions, & orders
- Hearing transcripts
- Social worker summaries
- Juvenile referral report
- Case investigation reports
- Updates in presentence investigation reports
- Status reports
Missouri laws are explicit about the confidentiality of juvenile records and steps that record custodians must take to ensure utmost confidentiality (Section § 211.321.3, RSMo).. Where the law permits the disclosure of juvenile records, the requester must have a court order enforcing the inspection. However, the statute allows record custodians to provide some details on the offense to the public. These include the nature of the petition and the status of proceedings in the juvenile court. Likewise, custodians may release any other information that does not identify the juvenile or the juvenile’s relatives specifically.
What Cases are Heard By Missouri Juvenile Courts?
As mentioned earlier, the juvenile division of family courts has original and exclusive jurisdiction over delinquent offenses and status offenses (Section § 211.031 RsMO).. Some of these offenses include:
- Running away
- Behaviors injurious to self or others
- Juvenile DWI
- Marijuana and drug possession
- Underage drinking and alcohol possession
- Theft and shoplifting
This list is not exhaustive and includes violent crimes and property crimes such as assault, trespassing, vandalism, arson, sex offenses, and gun possession. Other times, the juvenile court has concurrent jurisdiction over municipal curfew violations, possession and use of tobacco, as well as traffic ordinance violations.
Who is Eligible to View Juvenile Records in Missouri?
Juvenile records are generally confidential except otherwise provided by statute. A juvenile does not have the power to authorize an entity to access juvenile records or waive the confidentiality of the documents; this decision is solely at the discretion of the presiding judge. However, certain entities are statutorily allowed to inspect juvenile records including:
- The presiding juvenile court judge
- An authorized court staff
- An authorized law enforcement officer
- Juvenile probation officer
- Attorney to the juvenile
- The prosecuting attorney and staff
- An authorized staff of the department of child services
- An authorized staff of the department of correction
- Interested persons (with a court order)
- Researchers (with a court order)
- Victims of juvenile crime (access is limited)
A juvenile record shall become public information if the minor commits a class A felony under the criminal code of Missouri. Other circumstances include where the juvenile is involved in capital murder, first-degree murder, or second-degree murder or except as provided by statute or court order.
How to Find Juvenile Records in Missouri
Where a juvenile court record is public or an entity obtains authorization to inspect the record: the requester must contact the court where the case was filed and adjudicated. The Missouri court finder is useful for this purpose. It is best to make requests for juvenile records in person, but the requester may also submit a mail request if the court accepts this method. Similarly, juvenile law enforcement records that are subject to public disclosure are available via a criminal record check from the Missouri State Highway Patrol.
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 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.
Can You Look Up Missouri Juvenile Records Online?
No. Electronic copies of juvenile court records of juvenile cases are not available in Missouri. Similarly, law enforcement records on juvenile offenders are not available online, except provided by statute. In such cases, public juvenile records with law enforcement are available via name-based records check online. The service costs $14.00 per search. Besides, certain third-party service providers allow access to publicly available juvenile records online.
Do Missouri Juvenile Records Show Up on Background Checks?
It depends on the offense that the juvenile committed. Juvenile records associated with the adjudication of Class A felony that a juvenile offender committed will show up on a background check. Other offenses will not show up on background checks if the record is expunged or sealed.
How Long are Juvenile Records Kept in Missouri?
Missouri is not an automatic expungement state. Thus, juvenile records that courts and law enforcement maintain remain accessible to authorized entities unless the offender files for expungement (RsMO 211.321.5).. To file for expungement, the offender must be over eighteen years, have a clean criminal record since the offense, and meet other statutory or court requirements. The presiding judge will also consider other factors before granting the petition. The Office of the Public Defender provides systematic instructions for sealing and expungement in Missouri.
All petitions for expungement must begin in the juvenile court in the county of the original action. Expungement removes juvenile records from court files, the files of law enforcement agencies, and the files of any entity that has provided services to the juvenile under a court order.