Criminal records in Missouri are compiled and maintained by the Criminal Justice Information Services (CJIS) Division. These records are collected from various law enforcement agencies and courts. Any requests will be made to this division.
There are many ways criminal histories are used. It can be used by law enforcement and government agencies but also can be used by private organizations and individuals. Criminal history searches can be done with a name-based search or a fingerprint search. These can be used to gain professional licensing, to obtain rental housing, and other purposes.
What is a criminal record?
A criminal record is an official document detailing a person’s criminal convictions, pending criminal cases, prior arrests, and other interactions with law enforcement agencies. Additional names for a criminal record include criminal history record, rap sheet, and a police record.
As with marriage records and court records, criminal records are generally public records in the United States and can be accessed through a criminal background check. However, public access to specific criminal record information varies from state to state.
In the State of Missouri, criminal records are available online, in person, or by mail.
What is included in a Missouri criminal record?
As criminal records are kept by law enforcement agencies at all levels of government in the United States, a Missouri criminal record may vary in format and content depending on the law enforcement database from which it is accessed.
Generally, a Missouri criminal record will include the following information:
- A person’s full name and possible aliases
- Personal information such as age, date of birth, sex, ethnicity, height, weight, and other physical characteristics
- Fingerprints and mugshot
- Misdemeanor criminal offenses and convictions
- Felony criminal offenses and convictions
- Traffic records
- Past and outstanding arrest warrants
- Prior arrests
- Pending and dismissed charges
Why would someone access a criminal record?
There are many reasons criminal reports are accessed. For individuals, they may need to get professional licensing in careers like nursing, teachers, child care workers, and eldercare workers. Criminal record checks are also mandated when applying for adoption, foster care, certain government benefits, rental housing, and work visas.
Attorneys sometimes want to use criminal records to determine whether or not to accept a client or for court proceedings. Background checks are also required for certain weapons permits.
What’s the difference between an infraction, misdemeanor, and felony?
When you access a criminal record, the person listed on the record may have an offense listed. Criminal offenses are usually broken into three categories: Infractions, misdemeanors, and felonies.
An infraction is a minor violation, a misdemeanor is more serious, and a felony is the most serious type of crime. To better understand the information listed on a criminal record, here’s a quick overview of each offense and its severity:
- Infraction: A small traffic violation or littering are considered infractions. An infraction is a minor violation of the law. Usually, punishments are a warning or a fine. Typically, no jail time is associated with an infraction.
- Misdemeanor: If someone were to get a DUI or a drug violation, it’s considered a misdemeanor. A misdemeanor is more serious than an infraction but less severe than a felony. Jail time of less than a year or probation are usually associated with these types of crimes. Likely, the offender will do time in a local or county jail.
- Felony: Murder, rape, and arson are considered felony charges. A felony is the most serious type of crime. Offenders are typically sentenced to jail for more than a year and are likely held in a state or federal facility.
What is the difference between a Missouri arrest record and a Missouri criminal record?
An arrest record is an official document including the details of a specific arrest. A criminal record is a more comprehensive document that includes a person’s entire criminal background known to law enforcement agencies.
Both types of documents are usually public records in the United States, although information about specific arrests may be sealed and rendered inaccessible to the public for a variety of reasons.
Whether an arrest record or a criminal record is accessed, the information listed is for state crimes only. If a person is involved in a federal crime, this information is not listed on a state record.
How do I search for a Missouri criminal record?
There are two ways to search for criminal records. The first is a name-based search that is called a personal identifier search. This is based on possible matches based on names and includes convicted, guilty peas, arrest information less than 30-days old, charges filed not yet in court, and the suspended sentence during probation. It costs $14 per request.
The problem with this kind of search is that it can pull the wrong person and information since it is based solely on a legal name.
How do I obtain a physical copy of a Missouri criminal record?
While requesters can print out a copy of a name-based search, the best physical copy of a criminal record is going to be the fingerprint background check. This check ensures it is a full, correct, and completed copy of the identified person.
There is a $20 fingerprint fee for the state to provide that service. Additionally, there is a $14 fee for a background check that is suitable for things like the Department of Social Services or weapons permits.
This background check will include all criminal history including arrests relating to both filed and unfiled charges, any charges that have been dismissed, acquitted, or nolle prossed, and any suspended sentences after probation is finished.
Fees must be made by check or money order to the State of Missouri Criminal Record System Fund. Cash is not accepted. CJIS can also notarize the results for an additional $2 fee. Many agencies require notarization when a background check is used for certain services and proceedings.
It takes between four and six weeks to obtain a physical copy of a criminal records history. The histories are usually sent by mail, but can also be picked up at the CJIS.
How do I search for Missouri criminal case court records?
The place to begin in searching for Missouri criminal cases is with the Office of State Courts Administrator (OSCA), which is the administrative division of the Missouri state court system.
An online site, called MissouriCase.net is available through OSCA. People can search cases by name, date, or docket number and the site offers a section that lists scheduled hearings and trials so those researchers can have the most updated information.
The judicial branch also has another website to the Missouri Department of Corrections (MODOC) to research offender status. Information is kept current there now so both offender’s families and crime victims will have up-to-the-minute information.
Does Missouri allow criminal records to be sealed or expunged?
The State of Missouri allows some criminal records to be expunged or sealed. In this state, expungement is the same as sealing in that the record will remain on file but will be hidden from public view.
The request must be filed in the court where the case was heard. The requester will need to have a copy of their criminal record as well as documentation regarding the incident(s) in question. Not everyone can get their records sealed. Expungement can be requested for some felonies after seven years of serving a sentence and three years after serving a sentence for a misdemeanor.
How can I have false information on a Missouri criminal record corrected?
Similar to the process of expungement, those seeking to have false information removed have two options. They can submit their information to CJIS or they can petition a judge in the court where the case was heard to remove the information. The type of documentation needed includes a copy of the criminal history, documents identifying the subject versus the convicted or charged person, and any court records regarding the case.
Most cases of false information relate to a misidentification of the person involved. It could be the wrong address or birthdate. It could also be a situation where the convicted person has a similar name to someone never charged. These types of situations can be easily corrected by petitioning and providing proper identification showing the person charged is not the person on the record.
Another common case is for a criminal record to list the charges incorrectly or not properly list the outcome, such as a dismissal or acquittal. Obtaining court records and submitting copies of those with the petition will resolve those issues.
How long are Missouri criminal records kept on file?
Missouri handles record archiving a bit differently than other states. In this state, it depends on the severity of the crime. Criminal records can be kept from six months to indefinitely. Misdemeanors and other minor charges can be removed from the file in a short period of time, particularly if the sentence has been served. Serious crimes, like murder or other serious felonies, will stay on the file forever or until the person dies.