Missouri Court Records

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What Are Traffic Violations And Infractions In Missouri?

Traffic violations and infractions in Missouri occur when road users disregard laws that oversee vehicles’ operation on the highways and streets. In Missouri, all cases regarding violations of the state’s traffic law are heard in the Municipal or Traffic Court division of Circuit courts. The types of Traffic violations addressed in Missouri courts vary based on the severity/repetition of the offense and damages that occurred during the incident.

Hence, a traffic violation may be less severe and may not require any jail time, such as in the case of an infraction. Other times, some traffic offenses in the state may be regarded as criminal offenses such as traffic misdemeanors and felonies. These usually require more substantial fine payments than infractions and even possible incarceration.

What Are Felony Traffic Violations In Missouri?

In Missouri, felony traffic violations are the most severe traffic-related crimes in the state because they typically involve the threat to harm or actually harming an individual or damaging personal property.

Typically, most traffic offenses classified as felonies in Missouri are related to driving while intoxicated (DWIs), especially if the individual is a repeat offender who has been convicted of the same offense more than once within 5 years. If the act also causes harm or death to others, it may be classified as a Felony Traffic Violation.

The State government has stringent laws and penalties for DWI traffic offenses according to sections302.060 302.302, 577.010, and 577.012 of the Missouri Revised Statutes. For example, a first offender may be sentenced to up to 6 months in jail, with up to $500 in fine payments and a 30-day license suspension. A second offense may attract up to 1 year in jail, with about $1000 in fines and a 1-year license suspension. A third offense requires lengthier and more severe penalties. The offender may be sentenced to up to 4 years in jail, $5000 fine payments, and a 10-year license suspension.

Chapter 577 and Section 012 generally categorizes traffic felonies into five classes; Classes A, B, C, D, and E. Most felony traffic violations in the state are classified under the less severe felonies in Class C, D, and E according to the damages caused, repetition of the offense and the length of punishment or sentencing.

For instance, involuntary manslaughter, such as a DWI that caus of an individual’s death is an example of a Class C felony that is punishable by 3- 10 years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines. Aggravated DWI is a Class D felony offense in Missouri, and it is punishable by up to seven years in prison or one year in jail. The court can also impose a fine of up to $10,000.

Also, driving with a revoked or suspended license is a Class E felony offense in Missouri, and it is penalized by up to four years in prison or one year in jail. The court can impose a fine up to $5,000 to the offender.

Sometimes, a felony traffic violation could be very severe and may be classified under Class A or B felonies in the state. For example, if an individual who has been termed a “habitual offender” commits a Class B felony when charged with a DWI that resulted in the death of a law enforcement officer or emergency personnel. This is punishable by a 5–15 years sentence.

Also, a class A felony punishable by 10- 30 years in prison may occur when a habitual offender who has been convicted of 4–5 intoxication-related offenses causes the death of an individual in another vehicle or causes the death of 2 or more individuals.

Generally, for lesser traffic violations classified under Class D and E felonies, there may be the possibility of probation or parole, unless the accused was convicted of aggravated DWI. In this case, the individual is not qualified for parole or probation until after spending at least 60 days in prison.

The Missouri Judicial Branch keeps road users informed of various traffic violations, the monetary fine, potential jail time, and traffic codes by providing a manual of charge codes for traffic offenses.

Examples Of Felony Traffic Violations In Missouri

  • Vehicular homicide or manslaughter
  • Multiple DWI convictions
  • Driving without a license repeatedly
  • Hit and Run
  • Reckless Driving
  • Fleeing law enforcement

What Are Traffic Misdemeanors In Missouri?

Traffic misdemeanours in Missouri are not as severe as felony traffic violations, but they are usually more severe than traffic infractions. They are typically distinguished from felonies based on the severity of the injuries or damage caused to an individual or property. They are also crimes punishable by monetary fines and a jail sentence of up to one year.

Typically, misdemeanors in Missouri are divided into four classes (Class A - Class D), and each class has a maximum jail time and maximum fine. However, the actual sentence handed out during a traffic misdemeanor hearing is based on the judge’s discretion and the severity of the crime.

Finally, all misdemeanors in the state have a statute of limitation of one year, which implies that the criminal prosecution must commence within the year the offense was committed. Failure to do so may result in a dismissal.

Examples Of Traffic Misdemeanors In Missouri?

  • Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
  • Driving while Intoxicated
  • Refusing to stop at the scene of an accident,
  • Driving without a valid driver’s license
  • Driving without insurance
  • Reckless driving
  • Operating a vehicle with an instruction permit or license issued to another individual
  • Operating a motorcycle when the driver’s license is not validated for that purpose

What Constitutes A Traffic Infraction In Missouri?

Traffic Infractions in Missouri are the least serious traffic violation offenses that cannot result in jail time. They are usually penalized by monetary fines and accumulating demerit points on an individual’s driving record.

Typically, when an individual commits a traffic infraction in Missouri, the offender is issued a traffic ticket. The individual may choose to pay the ticket or appear in court to contest the ticket.

Traffic infraction court procedures are less formal and usually involve a bench trial by the judge. Unlike traffic felony and misdemeanor offenses, individuals accused of traffic infractions are not entitled to a jury or trial because these cases do not result in jail time.

In Missouri, traffic infractions are further categorized into moving and non-moving violations. Non-moving violations often relate to faulty equipment, parking, or other violations committed when the vehicle is not in motion. At the same time, moving violations relate to breaking traffic laws when the vehicle is in motion.

Examples of Traffic Infractions in Missouri

  • Parking in a no-parking zone
  • Parking near a fire hydrant
  • Failure to register the motor vehicle with the Department of Revenue
  • Displaying motor vehicle plates that belong to another person
  • Transporting children or self without the use of seat belts or approved restraint system
  • Expired Motor vehicle plates expired
  • Speeding
  • Running a Red Light
  • Failure to Maintain A Single Lane
  • Inadequate Car Insurance
  • Driving without a License
  • Driving with an Expired License
  • Failure to Yield Right-of-Way
  • Excessive muffler noise

How Does A Traffic Ticket Work In Missouri?

Law enforcement officials in Missouri issue traffic tickets to road users suspected of violating state traffic laws. In most cases, these tickets may be paid off with monetary fines, and other times, the offender may be required to appear in court. Traffic tickets are taken seriously in Missouri, and they must be responded to on or before the date shown on the ticket. Failure to do so may result in the suspension of the individual’s driver’s license, additional late fees, and in some cases, a warrant will be issued for the individual’s arrest. Traffic tickets can be paid online, in person, or via mail.

In Missouri, paying a ticket is an admission of guilt, and the right to challenge the ticket in court is automatically waived. While it may not result in jail time, it adds demerit points to the individual’s driving record, which may result in higher insurance rates. Asides paying the fine, traffic offenders may also respond to a Missouri traffic ticket by requesting a contested hearing or enrolling for Driver Improvement Program(DPI).

The choice to have a contested hearing instead of paying the fine or enrolling for a DPI program implies that the offender is pleading “not guilty.” Most offenders who request a contested hearing do so to avoid an infraction on their records or have demerit points added to their license. Offenders can simply request a hearing at the county court where the ticket was issued by ticking the appropriate checkbox on the ticket and mailing it to the court. Offenders that chose to enroll for the DPI program have to pay the ticket first, thereby, pleading guilty. Although this option is a guilty plea, it can help drivers avoid points on their driver’s license. Also, this option is not available in all counties in the state or to all traffic offenders. The individual must be "eligible” to use this option.

Are Driving Records Public In Missouri?

Missouri’s Sunshine Law governs the public’s access to public records in the state. According to the law, public records created and maintained by government offices in the state are subject to inspection and copying by citizens of the state unless exempted by law.

The government agency responsible for maintaining driving records in Missouri is the Department of Revenue. According to the law, it provides access to driving records in the state on request. However, the state laws mandate that access to personal information on these records should be restricted. This means that an individual may only access personal information on a Missouri driving record if they own the record or if they have obtained consent from the record holder. Inquirers requesting driving records of other individuals may only access records that do not contain personally identifiable information.

Also, the Driver’s Privacy Protection Act (DPPA) limits the disclosure of “personal information” on driving records obtained from Missouri’s Departments of Revenue. It only grants access to personal information on records when the requester is exempted by the act. For example, law enforcement agencies, attorneys and insurance companies can access full driving records of individuals in the state to perform their functions.

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 person resides in or was accused in.

Third-party sites are independent from government sources, and are not sponsored by these government agencies. Because of this, record availability on third-party sites may vary.

How To Find Driving Records In Missouri?

Drivers in Missouri can retrieve their driving records by querying the Department of Revenue via mail or in person.

The department offers two types of driving records, including:

  • Driver’s record with personal information.
  • Driver’s record without personal information.

Drivers Record without Personal information

This record only includes non-personal details of the individual’s driving history, including traffic violations and accidents. An individual choosing to obtain the records in person may visit any Missouri License office in the vicinity to request the records for a small fee.

The records may also be obtained via mail or fax by sending a written request to theDriver License Record Center. The driver’s name, date of birth, driver’s license number, and the appropriate fees will be required to process this request.

Driver Records with Personal Information

This record will include personal information such as;

  • The record holder’s name
  • Address
  • Date of birth
  • Gender
  • Height and weight
  • Eye color
  • License number
  • Social security number
  • Photograph
  • Contact information
  • Medical or disability information and restrictions

Individuals may request personal driving records in person by submitting a valid photo ID at a Missouri License office and paying the requested fees.

When requesting via mail or fax, the individual will be required to submit a completed Request Form to the Driver License Record Center along with the appropriate fees. The record holder must sign the request form for the request to be processed.

Requesting another individual’s records(with personal information)

When an individual or entity is cleared to request someone else’s driver record, they may submit a completed Request for Security Access Code form via mail to;

Driver License Bureau

DL Record Center

P. O. Box 2167

Jefferson City, MO 65105–2167

Phone: (573) 751–7675

Fax: (573) 526–7367

When the application is approved, the individual will be given a security access code to use when requesting driving records with personal information. After the access code is received, the individual may then submit a Request form in person at any Missouri license office or send it via mail to the Driver License Record Center, along with the security code and the appropriate fees.

Mailing address:

Motor Vehicle and Driver Licensing Division

301 West High Street Room 470

Jefferson City, MO 65101

Can Traffic Violations And Infractions Be Expunged Or Sealed In Missouri?

Not all types of traffic violations can be expunged or sealed in Missouri.

The Department of Revenue in the state does an annual driver’s license record purge of traffic tickets. Individuals interested in this process may submit a request to the department via email or traditional mail, and also over the phone by calling:

Missouri Department of Revenue (DOR)

(573) 526–2407.

Mailing address;

Missouri Department of Revenue

301 West High Street - Room 470

PO Box 200

Jefferson City, MO, 65105–0200

For individuals to qualify for this process, the traffic violation or ticket must be a minor offense to be eligible for removal. Some minor offenses include;

  • Certain speeding Tickets
  • Running a red light
  • Failure to Signal
  • Failure to Yield
  • Careless & Imprudent Driving

Also, traffic tickets that are three years or older and did not lead to a suspension or revocation of the individual’s driving privilege are eligible for removal.

The following traffic tickets are not eligible for removal;

  • Excessive BAC (Blood Alcohol Content)
  • Driving with a suspended or revoked license
  • DWI (Driving While Intoxicated)
  • DUID (Driving Under the Influence of Drugs)
  • Driving without insurance or driver’s license
  • Leaving the Scene of an Accident
  • Vehicular Manslaughter
  • Any felony or conviction involving a drug or alcohol-related driving offense

After a Driver’s license purge, insurance companies and other individuals /entities will not be able to see the old tickets, but the courts and the police will be able to.

Certain traffic violations may be eligible for sealing or expungement under the Missouri Expungement Statutes. The law mandates that under specific situations, individuals may be able to have first-time intoxication-related traffic offenses expunged under section 311.326 and 610.130 of the Missouri Revised Statutes after ten years.

Before an expungement, the individual will be required to file a petition or application in the municipal or traffic division of the circuit court where the initial sentencing occurred. Under these laws, an individual is only entitled to one expungement.

If an individual was also found “not guilty” for a motor vehicle offense that they were arrested and charged for, those records might be expunged according to Missouri Revised Statutes, Section 610.122. Under normal circumstances, such records should be sealed automatically by the court at the time. If that’s not the case, the individual may contact an attorney on how to proceed.

Traffic violations are ineligible for expungements if;

  • The driver was intoxicated at the time of the arrest (unless it was a first-time offense)
  • If the driver was holding a commercial driver’s license and driving a commercial vehicle at the time of the arrest.
  • If the driver has multiple felony or misdemeanor convictions