While every attempt has been made to ensure accuracy, local practices and procedures may vary.  We encourage every user to consult with an experienced juvenile justice practitioner in the jurisdiction to determine how best to proceed in any particular situation.       



Juvenile Collateral Consequences in the State of Missouri

            Missouri’s juvenile code limits the effects of juvenile adjudication by strictly guarding juvenile records and adhering to well-structured laws designed to protect juvenile delinquents. Missouri restricts access to juvenile court documents allowing only a person determined by the court to have a legitimate interest in the records to view them.[1] Although this generally limits access to damaging information, this does not apply to offenses committed by a youth if the offense committed by an adult would be deemed a greater felony.[2] Additionally, the court system in Missouri allows sealing of records and requires that all sealed records remain confidential and not available to the public.[3]

            In Missouri, there are relatively few collateral consequences that attach automatically as a result of a juvenile record. For example, a juvenile adjudication will not prevent a youth from voting once they turn eighteen.[4] However, depending on a juvenile’s record, collateral consequences can be imposed from decisions made by entities with authority to grant or deny certain opportunities, known as discretionary disqualifications. These discretionary disqualifications can limit the juvenile’s access to public housing, restrict employment and licensing, and deny an opportunity for higher education.[5]


Understanding the Justice System

            Juveniles accused of committing a crime and subsequently found guilty are considered adjudicated delinquent (adjudicated) rather than convicted guilty (convicted).[6] With a relatively few exceptions, the juvenile courts have exclusive original jurisdiction over children under seventeen who are charged with acts that would be crimes if committed by an adult.[7] The juvenile court does not have jurisdiction over a child between fifteen- and-a-half and seventeen who is charged with a non-felony traffic violation, and such a child is usually processed instead in municipal or traffic court.[8] The juvenile court and municipal court share concurrent jurisdiction over a juvenile within that age range who is charged with violating a municipal curfew ordinance or with underage possession or use of a tobacco product.[9]

            Other instances where a juvenile can be transferred to adult court are more limited and are not mandatory. For example, youth adjudicated between ages twelve and seventeen can be tried as an adult at the court’s discretion if their alleged offense would normally be considered a felony if committed by an adult.[10] The court is requiredto hold a hearing on how to try the juvenile if the individual is accused of first or second-degree murder,[11] first-degree assault,[12] forcible rape or forcible sodomy,[13] first-degree robbery,[14] or distribution of drugs.[15] After jurisdiction over the juvenile’s case has been transferred to an adult court, that juvenile cannot be transferred back into the juvenile court’s jurisdiction unless the alleged offender is found not guilty.[16]


Treatment of Juvenile Records

At what point in the process do court records begin?

            Court records begin when a child is taken into custody.[17]

Where are juvenile records stored?

            Juvenile records are stored with the court clerk (and the Department of Youth Services).[18] Juvenile records are maintained by the clerk of any given court, or with any specially appointed custodian by the office where the records originated.[19] Juvenile records must be kept separate from adult records and not open to inspection except by court order, this would include fingerprints and photographs of the youth.[20] The Department of Youth Services also can request statistics on and information contributing to the delinquency of children and programs operated by the court.[21]

What information does a juvenile police record contain?

            If the offense would be a felony if committed by an adult, then fingerprints and photographs are taken without consent of a juvenile court judge.[22] If the offense would be a misdemeanor if committed by an adult, the juvenile judge must give consent for fingerprinting and photographing.[23] Additionally, if the child is taken into custody as a status offender, juvenile judge consent is necessary for fingerprinting and photographing of the youth.[24]

            Additional information can be collected if the juvenile is transferred into a juvenile justice facility’s custody.[25] This additional information includes admission information; biographical information including birth date, gender, and race; contact information for custodians; the offense; assigned agency workers, juvenile officers, and/or legal counsel; inventory of all personal possessions; and medical screening history and condition of health.[26]

What information does a juvenile court record contain?

            All juvenile court records contain all documents filed from initiation to final termination of the case and a court docket sheet.[27]

Who can access juvenile records?

Public: Juvenile records are not open to public inspection, except by a court order allowing a person with a “legitimate interest” to view the records.[28]However, if a child is adjudicated for an offense which would be a felony if committed by an adult, the records of the dispositional hearing and proceedings related will be open to the public to the same extent as adult criminal proceedings.[29]However, the social summaries, investigations, and status reports submitted to the court by any treating agency after the dispositional hearing are kept confidential and open to inspection only with approval of a juvenile court judge.[30]Additionally, peace officers’ records on a juvenile are treated as adult records if the delinquent is seventeen years or older.[31]

            A juvenile officer is authorized to make public: information concerning an offense, substance of a petition, status of proceedings, and any other information that does not specifically identify the child or the child’s family for youth fifteen and a half years and older who violate a traffic ordinance which is not a felony.[32]

State Agencies: School districts may report or disclose education records to law enforcement and juvenile justice authorities if the disclosure concerns law enforcement's or juvenile justice authorities' ability to effectively serve, prior to adjudication, the student whose records are released.[33]   

If an agency is part of the effort to assist with the youth’s case, his/her arrest record and information about his case can be distributed to that agency.[34] Additionally, if an organization compiles statistics on juvenile adjudication, the data and information can be released to that agency with measures to protect the confidentiality of the juvenile.[35]For example, records of juvenile court proceedings can be disclosed to the child fatality review panel reviewing the child's death, unless the juvenile court on its own motion, or upon application by the juvenile officer, enters an order to seal the records of the victim child.[36]

Juvenile records are also available to criminal justice agencies and the court is required to provide information, when asked, on each juvenile record to the Department of Youth Services.[37]

Service Providers: Juvenile records may be disclosed to any person or agency providing or proposed to provide treatment to the child, including officials at the child’s school.[38]

Victims/Victims’ Families: Victims and their immediate family have open access to general information in a juvenile’s file except the location and the duration of treatment for the juvenile.[39]

Juveniles: While there is no specific mention of the accused juvenile’s access, closed records are accessible to the defendant of a criminal case.[40]


Sealing and Expunging Delinquency Files or Records

Do juveniles have the opportunity to seal or expunge police records?

            If a child is not charged within one year of the date the child was taken into custody, the arrest record including photographs and fingerprints may be expunged.[41] The court may also expunge the police record if it determines the arrest was based on false information, there is no probable cause at the time of the expungement action, no charges will be pursued, the youth has no prior or subsequent misdemeanor or felony convictions, and no civil action is pending.[42]

Do juveniles have the ability to seal or expunge court records?

            A court may, on its own motion or by petition from the child or child’s representative, seal the juvenile court record any time after a juvenile reaches the age of seventeen and the juvenile court finds that it is in the best interest of the child.[43] If the jurisdiction of the court continues beyond the child’s seventeenth birthday, the court may do so after the closing of the child’s case.[44]

 How do juveniles seal their courtrecord?

            To seal a record a juvenile must first file a motion in the court where the case was adjudicated.[45] There is no general form or process to follow other than the courts’ rules of procedure and the qualifications listed above for sealing a juvenile court record.[46]

Who has access to sealed juvenile court records?

            The only circumstances where a sealed record may be viewed is if a court orders the record unsealed or the court needs the sealed record for any reason.[47] For example, if there is a subsequent adjudication where previous adjudications may inform a judge on disposition or sentencing.


Employment Opportunities

            Missouri law has no provisions that provide specific opportunities for employers to view a juvenile’s records. Employers are subject to the same restrictions as the general public—with access allowed only for a legitimate reason for viewing the record and upon a court’s consent can an employer review a juvenile’s record.[48] Furthermore, the state does not restrict employers from discriminating for any kind of conviction or adjudication, provided the information can be found.

However, for those juveniles who are seventeen or older, peace officers’ records are available to employers as they would be for an adult.[49]Additionally, parts of records of juveniles adjudicated for a felony are automatically public.[50]

Can juvenile records be viewed for employment purposes?

           The records of juvenile delinquents are generally withheld from public inspection unless the requesting party has obtained the court’s consent.[51]

What information do employers with access to juvenile delinquency records see?

            This depends largely on what the juvenile has been adjudicated guilty of and the court’s willingness to permit disclose the records to someone with a legitimate interest.[52] If the juvenile has been convicted of a class A Felony, records are not closed and are treated as adult records.[53] If the juvenile has reached the age of seventeen and records were made or kept by a peace officer, the records are also not confidential.[54]   

Can an employer view a juvenile record if it has been sealed?

            An employer may not view a sealed juvenile record.[55] The court system in Missouri requires that all sealed records remain confidential and not available to the public.[56] Furthermore, when records are sealed they are kept in a separate system and are separate from other juvenile records to ensure they are confidential.[57]

How should a juvenile respond to inquiries about a record on licensing exams and applications?

            It depends on the status of the youth upon conviction/adjudication. For juveniles with a sealed, expunged, or closed juvenile record, there is no statutory authority to review or question the records of a juvenile. However, it is important to remember any juvenile tried as an adult will be treated as an adult and must respond as such to any licensing board.[58]

How should a juvenile respond to inquiries about a record on job applications? 

            It depends on the status of the youth upon conviction/adjudication. Again, youth convicted as an adult cannot answer “no” when asked about criminal convictions.[59] Youth with delinquency records may answer “no” when asked about convictions and may assume that employers will not have access to a juvenile record.[60]


Collateral Consequences Affecting Students

Can a felony complaint or felony charge brought against a juvenile affect elementary or high school education?

            A student may be suspended or expelled for a felony petition when the act is alleged, taking place before adjudication.[61] Law enforcement must notify the superintendant of any school when a child in that school district commits a specific class of felonies, ranging from murder to sexual assault.[62] The superintendant must inform people who interact with the child within the school district—teachers, administrators, and the other school employees.[63] The school board can suspend or expel the student, after notice to parents or guardian and a hearing upon the charges, if the new information on the juvenile is “prejudicial to good order and discipline in the schools or tends to impair good morale or good conduct of the pupils.”[64] This is the only guidance given; however, the information given by law enforcement cannot be used as the sole basis for not providing educational services to a given student.[65]

Are there any collateral consequences affecting access to state higher education for a juvenile that has been adjudicated delinquent or charged with a crime?

Although some applications ask ambiguous questions regarding prior offenses and school discipline that might affect the student’s application, The majority of Missouri universities ask if an applicant has ever previously been convicted, which does not apply to juveniles who were not tried in adult court.[66]


Truman State University

         The Truman State University application asks about prior disciplinary violations at other schools:

Question 31(a): "Have you ever been found responsible for a disciplinary violation at any school you have attended, whether related to academic misconduct orbehavioral misconduct, resulting in your probation, suspension, removal, dismissal or expulsion from the institution?"

Question 31(b): "Have you ever been arrested or convicted of a misdemeanor, felony or other crime?”[67]

Question 31(a) could include juvenile adjudications that later resulted in suspension or dismissal from school. However, Question 31(b) asks if they have been arrested for a crime. Because this requires a juvenile to disclose any previous arrests, this can greatly impact a student’s chances for entry into this University.


Common College Application

            State schools are not listed on the Common College Application website as member schools, although Washington University in St. Louis and Webster University are member private schools. The disciplinary history section of the Common College Application asks:

“Have you ever been found responsible for a disciplinary violation at any educational institution you have attended from 9thgrade (or the international equivalent) forward, whether related to academic misconduct or behavioral misconduct, that resulted in your probation, suspension, removal, dismissal, or expulsion from the institution?; Have you ever been convicted of a misdemeanor, felony, or other crime?”[68]

            If the answer is yes to either of these questions, the applicant is asked to offer an explanation in a separate writing.

            As noted previously, suspension or expulsion is a possibility before or after a juvenile is adjudicated in Missouri. The Common College Application has a structure that couldaffect a juvenile’s standing depending on subsequent actions taken by the school the juvenile attends during the criminal procedures.


Collateral Consequences to Receipt of Public Benefits & Privileges

Will a juvenile record affect a youth’s chances of becoming a foster parent or adopting a child?

            A criminal background check is required to adopt a child;[69] the same is true for becoming a foster parent.[70] However, Missouri law does not permit any agency conducting a background check to view a juvenile record and there are no statutes granting exceptions to this.[71]  Therefore, the criminal background check required to adopt or to become a foster parent is unlikely to affect a juvenile’s chances of adoption, unless the juvenile was tried as an adult.

Can an arrest or adjudication affect eligibility of a juvenile’s family for seeking public housing?

            State and local housing authorities have no statutory authority to request information about the juvenile records of applicants or their children.[72]  Federal law provides that a lessee or participant in any Section 8 subsidy program can be severed from the benefits of public housing if a juvenile household member engages in criminal activity that is violent, drug-related, or “threatens the health, safety or right to peaceful enjoyment of other residents and persons” living within the vicinity of the premises.[73]  Thus, this could affect Missouri families living in federal public housing.

Can an arrest or an adjudication of a juvenile household member get a juvenile or family evicted from public housing?

            As previously stated, federal law provides that a lessee or participant in any Section 8 subsidy program can be severed from the benefits of public housing if a juvenile household member engages in criminal activity that is violent, drug-related, or “threatens the health, safety or right to peaceful enjoyment of other residents and persons” living within the vicinity of the premises.[74] The housing authority may use police reports, victim’s statements, and other evidence—as long as they meet the standard of being “sufficiently reliable”—to prove that the juvenile household member’s conduct is violent, drug-related, or threatens the health, safety, or peaceful enjoyment of other residents.[75] In addition to these federal restrictions, Missouri grants courts the ability to evict tenants for any kind of drug activity or any physically threatening activity.[76]

Can a juvenile record affect obtaining a driver’s license or permit?

            The court may, upon finding of fact made pursuant to its jurisdiction in a juvenile court, suspend or revoke a juvenile’s license.[77]


Special Offender Registries

When will a juvenile have to register as a sex offender?

            Any person who has been adjudicated delinquent by a juvenile court for a sex-related offense that would be a felony if committed by an adult must register as a sex offender.[78]Applicable sex offenses include (but are not limited to) rape, forcible sodomy, child molestation, and sexual abuse.[79]

Who has access to the sex offender registry?

            Sex offender registration forms are kept confidential and can be released only to those agencies that have access to juvenile records.[80]Thus, a police agency for a county can retrieve information on a juvenile’s sex offender status, but this same agency may not distribute this information to others, unless the agency remains within the guidelines required by law.[81]An officer in control of the juvenile’s case could distribute the information if it is in the interest of public safety to do so. However, the officer must make an effort to avoid disclosure of the offender’s name or family.[82]

What information is disclosed?

            The offender registry requires a form signed by the juvenile including: the juvenile’s name, address, social security number, phone number, school, place of employment, offense requiring the registration (including date, place, and brief description), adjudication information, and age and gender of the victim.[83] The registry also includes the fingerprints and a photograph of the juvenile. [84]

Is there any relief for those who are on the sex offender registry?

            The sex offender registry of Missouri does not allow open access or sharing of sex offender information with the community.[85] Further, the records are restricted only to those agencies with access to all the juvenile’s information in the first place—which generally includes only a core group of people in an effort to serve the juvenile’s case.[86] Also, juveniles are not required to register after they turn twenty-one; thus, juveniles can petition to have the records removed from the registry at that age.[87]

[1] Mo. Rev. Stat. § 211.321(1) (2010); Mo. Rev. Stat. § 211.171(6) (2010).

[2] See id. (excluding limitation of records for any offense that would be a class A felony, capital murder, first degree murder, or second degree murder).

[3] Mo. Rev. Stat. § 211.321(2) (2010);

[4]  See Mo. Rev. Stat. § 211.271(1) (2010)(“No adjudication by the juvenile court upon the status of a child shall be deemed a conviction nor shall the adjudication operate to impose any of the civil disabilities ordinarily resulting from conviction.”).

[5] See generally American Bar Association, ABA Standards for Criminal Justice: Collateral Sanctions and Discretionary Disqualification of Convicted Persons, (3rd ed., 2004).

[6] Mo. Rev. Stat. § 210.570(II)(H) (2010).

[7] Mo. Rev. Stat. § 211.031(3)(2010).

[8] Mo. Rev. Stat. § 211.031(1)(e) (2010).

[9] Id.

[10] Mo. Rev. Stat§ 211.071(1) (2010).

[11] Mo. Rev. Stat§ 211.071(1) (2010); See also Mo. Rev. Stat. § 565.020 (2010); Mo. Rev. Stat. § 565.021 (2010).

[12] Mo. Rev. Stat§ 211.071(1) (2010); See also Mo. Rev. Stat. § 565.050 (2010).

[13] Mo. Rev. Stat§ 211.071(1) (2010); See also Mo. Rev. Stat. § 566.030 (2010); Mo. Rev. Stat. § 566.060 (2010).

[14] Mo. Rev. Stat§ 211.071(1) (2010); See also Mo. Rev. Stat. § 569.020 (2010).

[15] Mo. Rev. Stat§ 211.071(1) (2010); See also Mo. Rev. Stat. § 195.211 (2010).

[16] Mo. Rev. Stat. §§ 211.071(9)-(10) (2010).

[17] Mo. Rev. Stat.211.131(3) (2010).

[18] Mo. S. Ct. Op. R. 8.02(B).

[19] Id.

[20] Mo. Sup. Ct. R. 122.03(a) .

[21] Mo. Rev. Stat. § 211.322 (2010).

[22] Mo. Rev. Stat. § 211.151(3) (2010).

[23] Id.

[24] Id.

[25] Mo. Sup. Ct. R. 129.04 at Appx. A 10.2.

[26] Id.

[27] Mo. S. Ct. Op. R. 4.03(1)

[28] Mo. Rev. Stat. § 211.321(1) (2010).

[29] Mo. Rev. Stat. § 211.321(2) (2010).

[30] Id.

[31] Mo. Rev. Stat. § 211.321(3) (4) (2010).

[32] Mo. Rev. Stat. § 211.321(1) (2010).

[33] Mo. Rev. Stat. § 167.020 (2)(2)(7) (2010); See also 20 U.S.C. § 1232g (b)(1)(E) (1974) (listing applicable restrictions officials and authorities must comply with).

[34] Mo. Rev. Stat. § 211.321(2)(1)(a) (2010).

[35] Mo. Rev. Stat. § 211.321(4) (2010).

[36] Mo. Rev. Stat. § 211.321(7) (2010).

[37] Mo. Rev. Stat. § 610.120 (2010); Mo. Rev. Stat. § 211.322 (2010).

[38] Mo. Rev. Stat. § 211.321(2)(1)(a) (2010).

[39] Mo. Rev. Stat. § 211.321(6) (2010).

[40] Mo. Rev. Stat. § 610.120 (2010).

[41] Mo. Rev. Stat. § 211.151(3) (2010).

[42]Mo. Rev. Stat. §§ 211.151(3), 610.122 (2010).

[43] Mo. Rev. Stat. § 211.321(5) (2010).

[44] Id.

[45] Id.

[46] Id.

[47] Mo. S. Ct. Op. R. 4.25(3).

[48] Mo. Rev. Stat. § 211.321(1) (2010).

[49] Mo. Rev. Stat. § 211.321(3) (2010).

[50]Mo. Rev. Stat. § 211.321(2)(2) (2010).

[51] Mo. Rev. Stat. § 211.321(1). (2010)

[52] Mo. Rev. Stat. § 211.321(1) (2010).

[53] Id.

[54] Mo. Rev. Stat. § 211.321(3).(2010).

[55] Mo. Sup. Ct. R. 4.24(d), (r).

[56] Id.

[57] Mo. Sup. Ct. Op. R. 8.04.08(J) .

[58] Mo. Rev. Stat. § 314.200 (2010).

[59] Mo. Rev. Stat. § 211.321(2010).

[60] See Mo. Rev. Stat. § 211.321(1) (2010)(providing access to juvenile records only to a select group of agencies and persons).

[61] Mo. Rev. Stat. § 167.115(1) (2010).

[62] Id.

[63] Id. at (3).

[64] Mo. Rev. Stat. § 167.161(1).(2010)

[65] Mo. Rev. Stat. § 167.115(3) (2010).

[66]  Southeast Missouri University, Apply, Southeast Missouri University (2010), http://www.semo.edu/2010_Application_Book.pdf;  (last visited July 7, 2010)Missouri State University. Application. Applying for Admission (2010) http://www.missouristate.edu/futurestudents/applynow.asp (last visited July 7, 2010); Missouri Southern State University, Admissions Template, http://www.mssu.edu/admissions/forms/online-app.shtml (last visited July 7, 2010).

[67] Truman State University, Office of Admission, Application for Admission (2010), http://admissions.truman.edu/apply/Application.pdf. (last visited July 7, 2010 ).

[68]  The Common Application, 2010-2011 First year Application, for Spring 2011 or Fall 2011 Enrollment, https://www.commonapp.org/CommonApp/docs/downloadforms/CommonApp2011.pdf (last visited Feb. 14, 2011).

[69] Mo. Rev. Stat. § 453.070(3) (2010); Mo. Code Regs. Ann. tit. 13, § 40-59.030 (2010).

[70]Mo. Rev. Stat. § 210.487 (2010); See MO. Code Regs. Ann. tit. 13, § 40-59.030 (2010); supra note 81.

[71]Mo. Rev. Stat. § 211.321(1)-(3).(2010)

[72] Id.

[73] 42 U.S.C. § 1437 (k)(l)(6) (2008); 24 C.F.R. §§ 982.551(l), 982.522(c)(1)(i), 982.553(b) (2009).

[74] Id.

[75] Id.

[76] See Mo. Rev. Stat. § 441.740 (2010) (listing circumstances when the court can immediately evict a tenant for reasons listed). These are similar or identical to those listed in the Section 8 subsidy program laws. Additionally, these actions meriting eviction could have been performed by a juvenile or adult.

[77] Mo. Rev. Stat. § 211.181(3)(6).(2010).

[78] Mo. Rev. Stat. § 211.425(1) (2010).

[79] Id.; See generally Mo. Rev. Stat. §§ 589.400–589.425 (2010) (providing laws for adult sexual offender registry).

[80] Mo. Rev. Stat. § 211.425(3) (2010).

[81] See discussion of access to juvenile records, supra at page 4.

[82] Mo. Rev. Stat. § 211.321(2) (2010).

[83] Mo. Rev. Stat. § 211.425(2)(1)-(2)  (2010).

[84] Id.

[85] Mo. Rev. Stat. § 211.425(3) (2010)

[86] Id.

[87] Mo. Rev. Stat. § 211.425(6) (2010).


Missouri Department of Public Safety Juvenile Justice Unit
Missouri Juvenile Justice Association
Missouri Juvenile Justice Association Minority Confinement Report
The Missouri State Public Defender
United States Attorneys Office Eastern District Of Missouri