There are dozens of ways to resolve a criminal case in Mississippi, and “nonadjudication” is one of the best, short of being found “Not Guilty.” If you meet the criteria necessary for nonadjudiction, and if you are patient and stay out of trouble, the end result will be that the conviction stays off your record. “Nonadjudication” simply is a form of pretrial probation that is used as an alternative to jail time, and if you make it to the end of this probation, we can apply to have the whole thing expunged.
How does nonadjudication work in Mississippi?
First you need to meet with me to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of the state’s case against you. Then we need to determine if you meet all of the requirements for nonadjudication (see below). I will then negotiate with the prosecutor to determine if the state is willing to agree with the nonadjudication. At that point we will go to court and actually plead guilty to your charge(s). This is when the magic happens: The judge will then “withhold acceptance” of your guilty plea – in order words, the judge won’t find you guilty yet – and instead will order you to comply with certain conditions for a certain period of time. If you make it to the end of the certain period then YOUR CASE WILL BE DISMISSED, and we can then petition the court for your record to be expunged, i.e. YOU WILL STILL HAVE A CLEAN RECORD. I heard a probation officer state the other day that this is the “gold standard,” and I cannot disagree with that. If you meet the criteria – and you are prepared to accept responsiblity for doing whatever it is the state has you charged with – it is a great deal.
What are the requirements for nonadjudication?
Certain crimes are not eligible for nonadjudication:
- “crimes against a person” (Call me if you are not sure what a “crime against a person” is)
- embezzlement by a person in public office
- selling a controlled substance (unless it is a very small amount of marijuana)
- possession of over 1kg of marijuana
- DUI – except for persons under the age of 21
No prior felonies on your record. Prior misdemeanors may be OK.
No prior nonadjudications of other crimes. Can only take advantage of this “gold standard” once.
What are some of the conditions the circuit, county, justice or municipal judge may impose?
- Reasonable restitution to the victim of the crime.
- Up to 960 hours of public service work approved by the court.
- Payment of a fine not to exceed the statutory limit.
- Successful completion of drug, alcohol, psychological or psychiatric treatment or any combination thereof.
- Participation in the Regimented Inmate Discipline Program (the Boot Camp program).
How long can the court order me to stay in the nonadjudication program?
A circuit or county court judge can order you to stay in the program for up to five years. A justice or municipal court judge can order you to stay in the program for up to two years. A decent lawyer can often negotiate these periods downward, but there are no guarantees.
Nonadjudication is as good as a “win” in a criminal case – it just takes longer. If you have been charged with a crime and would like to discuss avoiding a conviction email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call me at 601-991-1099.