Before Missouri legalized medical marijuana in 2018, officers dealt out thousands of fines and punishments for marijuana possession. As a result, hundreds of people ended up with criminal charges on their records for something that’s now perfectly legal. To rectify this issue, Missouri has introduced a new expungement law. This law could eliminate the charges from your record when you get your medical marijuana ID card. The Missouri DWI & Criminal Law Center can help.
What is Expungement?
Expungement options involve the act of wiping a criminal charge from your record. For example, if you were convicted of a misdemeanor several years ago, you could talk to an attorney about the possibility of expungement. A judge may decide if the court should expunge the conviction or not. If they do, the conviction is completely wiped from your record. This law gives people the chance to leave the past behind and move on with their lives.
How Does This New Law Work?
Under this new Missouri law, you can get criminal marijuana possession charges expunged from your record if you get a medical marijuana ID card.
If you get your card before August 28, 2021, the state will automatically remove the charges from your record. If you get your card after this date, you’ll have to petition the court for expungement. Note that this only applies to charges filed in the state of Missouri — if you accrued charges in other states, you might not be eligible for expungement.
Does This Apply to All Charges?
Currently, this law only applies to marijuana possession charges. This law doesn’t expunge other drug-related charges, even if they involve marijuana in addition to other substances.
You can still talk to an attorney about getting other criminal charges expunged, but this specific law doesn’t cover it. Non-drug-related charges like assault or theft are completely separate and have nothing to do with this law.
What Happens if Your Charges Get Expunged?
Expungement is a permanent decision that wipes the charge off your record as if it never happened. Reports of the incident will still exist, but they’ll be confidential and not accessible to the public.
You won’t have to disclose this charge when you apply for a job, seek out a loan or do anything else that requires information about your criminal record. Additionally, expunged charges don’t show up on background checks. At most, people might be able to find news reports about the incident, but the charges are no longer relevant.
What if You Have Additional Charges?
If you have other charges that this new law doesn’t cover, you can always check with your attorney. They might be able to help you get charges taken off your record. Typically, you have to wait a certain number of years before you qualify for expungement. Some charges can never be expunged, but if you have the opportunity, it’s often worth the time and effort to get old charges taken off your record.
Your criminal record shouldn’t penalize you for something that was illegal at the time but is now legal under certain circumstances. This new law aims to clear up that issue. If you have marijuana possession charges on your record, this law might allow you to start fresh with a clean slate. Plus, if you suffer from certain conditions, you’ll be able to start your treatment when you get your medical marijuana card. Ideally, the updated marijuana expungement law will be a great help to those with previous charges.