Springfield lawyers aim to help people clear their criminal records

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) – The “Clean Slate” program, organized by the Springfield Metro Bar Association, aims to help people clear their criminal records.

In 2018, Missouri changed laws increasing the number of criminal offenses that can be expunged or expunged from a person’s record. It went from 13 qualifying offenses to 1,900.

“It’s life changing. It’s something that relieves a huge burden they were carrying,” said Nate Dunville, president of the Springfield Metro Bar Association.

He says changing state laws could benefit the community.

“There’s no reason we have these people sitting on the sidelines who are willing and able to contribute,” he said.

Attorney Scott Pierson said: “It’s made for the person who made a mistake or two maybe at the start.”

He explains that the time in which a person must wait to have their file cleaned has been reduced from 20 years to three years for a felony and one year for a misdemeanor.

“You can have one felony expunged or you can expunge two misdemeanors that include jail time. You can have unlimited offenses,” he said.

Pierson says the type of crimes has been expanded.

“You can erase any type of drug offence. Whether it’s marijuana misdemeanor or criminal trafficking at a very low level, you can get it cleared. As long as you’re not Pablo Escobar,” he said.

He says the law is designed to help convicted offenders regain their rights as they were before their arrest, with perhaps some exceptions.

Pierson said, “I think at the state level it will be fine. Whether or not you will be able to own or buy a firearm will be a bit of a blur at the federal level.

“There’s a real incentive there that we’re giving people to say, hey, don’t be a repeat offender. Don’t make a single mistake in defining the course you will follow for the rest of your life, because there is a way to get back on course here,” Dunville said.

The next clinic will take place in October.

Lawyers will explain the laws and connect interested people with someone who can provide legal help at little or no cost.

For more information, including registration, click here.

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