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Missouri Court Records

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What Are Missouri Traffic Court Records?

Missouri traffic records represent all legal documents and case files generated as a report of traffic court events in Missouri. They can include records related to civil and criminal violations and moving/non-moving violations under Missouri’s motor vehicle code.

Are Missouri Traffic Court Records Public Records?

Similar to all types of court records, Missouri traffic court records are considered public records and are available to members of the public under the public access to information law. Consequently, any member of the public can request to view all traffic records, except records that a court order has restricted.

Getting a Traffic Ticket in Missouri

A traffic ticket or Uniform Citation is a computer-generated document that a law enforcement officer issues for traffic violations in Missouri. The ticket is a sworn statement by the officer regarding their observations of the violation. The citation may have copies for all stakeholders, but the violator may receive only one. The officer may fill in the citation and contain the bio-data of the violator, including full name, date of birth, address, height, weight, and other relevant information. It may include details about the violator's license and information about the vehicle involved in the violation. The citation may include the name and location of the court where the appearance should be made, along with a date and time. Brief details on the offense observed with supporting facts, as noted by the officer, may also be included. The statute or ordinance violated with the charge code may also be noted on the citation, with the location, time, and date of the violation. Fine amounts to be paid (if pleading guilty) may be shown on the ticket, and if not, you may need to contact the listed court. You may be required to sign the ticket to acknowledge receipt of citations and a promise to dispose of the charges.

Traffic citations come with penalties consisting of fines and points assessed on your driving record and can also include added costs and even jail time. Missouri utilizes a points-based system for traffic violations, and accumulating a certain number of points results in different punishments. 4 points in 12 months may result in a warning letter, 8 points within 18 months may lead to license suspension, and 12 points in 12 months, 18 points in 24 months, or 24 points in 36 months, all result in revocation of license. Points can remain on the driver's record for at least 3 years, but if no new points are accumulated, the total points record is reduced by one-third after 12 months, one-half after 2 years, and zero after 3 years. Failure to pay the fine before or on the court date could lead to an arrest warrant being issued.

Missouri traffic violations and infractions are generally divided into moving and non-moving violations. Moving violations are traffic law offenses perpetrated by a vehicle in motion and can include misdemeanors and felonies, depending on the circumstances. Non-moving violations generally occur when a vehicle is parked or caused by faulty or broken vehicle equipment. Vehicles in motion can be cited for Non-moving violations, but such violations may be differentiated by their treatment in the courts. Non-moving violations are not reported to the Missouri Department of Revenue and do not appear on your driving record.

What to Do When You Get a Traffic Ticket in Missouri?

If you get a traffic citation in Missouri, you are expected to either

  • Pay the traffic ticket
  • Contest the ticket

A response may be made to the citation before or on the scheduled court date by entering one of the above actions, or you may run the risk of a license suspension and even a warrant being issued for your arrest.

What happens if I decide to pay a Missouri Traffic Fine?

If you decide to pay the fine and move on, you are entering a GUILTY plea to a Missouri state traffic ticket. This indicates your acceptance of the charges against you and your agreement to all imposed fines, fees, and penalties. Points may be added to your Missouri driver's record. You also consent to give up your right to contest the ticket in court.

If you are not mandated to make a court appearance, you can pay the fines before your court date but may do so by then. Payment can be made on the court's website or by mail by signing the appearance, plea of guilty, and waiver that appears on the ticket and sending it to the listed court with the total amount (do not send cash). You can also pay the fine by appearing in person at the court clerk's office. Different courts may prefer other forms of payment, so verify payment procedures with the court before making payment.

If you are expected to appear in court, you may show up on your court date to enter your GUILTY plea. The judge may then assess fines and any other costs at that juncture. Drivers' record points are applicable.

It is also possible (if you are deemed eligible to enroll in a Drivers Improvement Program after your guilty plea, and if completed within 60 days, no points shall be assessed on your record.

Contesting a Traffic Ticket in Missouri

 If you contest the ticket, you may be required to appear on the scheduled court date to enter a NOT GUILTY plea, which signifies your request for a hearing to decide your case. It would help if you were prepared, and consider professional representation.

You may appear on your scheduled court date and time at the listed court to enter your plea, after which a trial date may be scheduled. You may appear on the trial date, or you may run the risk of a verdict being entered in your absence, which may most certainly be a guilty verdict. If this occurs, you may be held liable for fines and additional court charges and may have points added to your driver's record.

What to Expect in a Missouri Traffic Court

If you are found not to be guilty by the court, all charges are dismissed and you are freed of fines and penalties but may still be liable for court costs.

If you are found guilty of the charges, you may be assessed for fines and any added penalties deemed by the court. Driver points may be added to your record, and you may still be liable for court courts.

How Do I Find Missouri Traffic Court Records?

Traffic court records are usually available on the court website, where the records are stored, and you may request the records online by filling out the requisite form. Alternatively, you can visit the Violations Bureau of the court in person and make your request. There is also the option of requesting by telephone or fax. Court charges may apply if copies of the record are required and the release of court records is subject to identity verification. Traffic records may also be found on third-party websites such as MissouriCourtRecords.us. Records deemed as confidential (non-public) by Missouri state law may only be available

  • To the defendant
  • To the attorney of record in the case
  • Under exceptions, authorized by law or court order.
  • With a signed, notarized release from the defendant

Publicly available records are also accessible from some third-party websites. These websites offer the benefit of not being limited by geographical record availability and can often serve as a starting point when researching specific or multiple records. To find a record using the search engines on these sites, interested parties may provide:

  • The name of someone involved, providing it is not a juvenile
  • The assumed location of the record in question such as a city, county, or state name

Third-party sites are not government-sponsored websites, and record availability may differ from official channels.

What Information is Required to Obtain Missouri Traffic Court Records?

To receive Traffic records, you may need to provide information about the record being requested, including full name (as it appears on the record), date of birth, and the case number. The requester may be required to provide information including full name, agency or business, address, telephone number, and a valid form of identification. There might be court fees, depending on the purview of the request, which may be paid before the release of records. It may take about 3 business days to receive a response and possibly longer to obtain records.

Are all Traffic Violations Handled The Same Way in Missouri?

Traffic violations are handled in mostly the same manner in Missouri, irrespective of the offense or violation committed. Fines and license points may differ as these are based on the severity of the violation, but the procedures for handling a traffic violation may be the same. Court proceedings may vary if the violation is viewed to be criminal i.e. a misdemeanor or felony violation.

Can Missouri Traffic Records be Sealed or Expunged?

In 2018, a new expungement law came into effect in Missouri, which allows for the expungement or closure of arrest and conviction records for certain misdemeanors and felonies. You may wait 7 years to apply to have felony convictions expunged and 3 years for arrest records and misdemeanor convictions.

Traffic records may be eligible for expungement if you were arrested and charged with a misdemeanor traffic offense and the charges were dropped or dismissed at trial. Traffic offenses are not eligible for expungement if:

  • You were intoxicated at the time of the arrest. DWIs are not eligible for expungement in Missouri.
  • You held a commercial driver's license and were driving a commercial vehicle at the time of the arrest.
  • You have another misdemeanor or felony conviction on your record.
  • There is pending civil action related to the record you want expunged.

How Does One End Up in a Missouri Traffic Court?

A person can end up in a Missouri traffic court if the person receives a citation from a law enforcement officer for a traffic violation and wishes to contest the ticket. The person may need to appear in court on the scheduled date and time to enter a plea and request a hearing.

You also end up in traffic court if a law enforcement officer issues you a citation, and it is indicated on the ticket that a court appearance is mandatory. This applies to more serious traffic violations.

Which Courts in Missouri Have Jurisdiction to Hear Traffic Violation Matters?

Missouri traffic violations are heard in state, county, or city/municipal court. The location of the alleged traffic violation tends to decide where your case may be heard, so if you were issued a ticket by a state trooper or highway patrol officer, your case might most likely be heard in state court.

How to Prepare for Traffic Court in Missouri

In Missouri, preparing for traffic court starts with understanding the specifics of your violation and the corresponding traffic laws. Review your citation carefully to know what you're being charged with and the potential penalties. Consider seeking legal advice, especially if you face serious consequences such as license suspension or high fines. Gather evidence or documentation supporting your case, such as witness statements or photographs.

Missouri Traffic Court Records
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