Criminal Expungements in Mississippi
Clearing your Record
When you are arrested for a crime, a record is made. Even if you were never formally charged, a record is made. If the charges are dismissed, a record is made. If you hire a great lawyer and take your case to trial and win, a record is made. If you are found not guilty, a record is made. All of these records are public, and they do not automatically go away with time. They are potentially visible to anyone checking up on you, whether it is a possible employer, a government agency verifying your right to benefits, or anyone that wants to pry into your life. It takes action on your part, usually through a lawyer, to remove these records from the public eye and to prevent them from affecting your ability to get on with your life.
The Mississippi Supreme Court has said this about the importance of clearing your record and expungements in Mississippi:
Most applications such as those required for employment, enlistment in the armed services, consumer loans, etc., require the applicant, under the pain and penalty of perjury, to state whether or not he has ever been arrested or convicted of a crime. Prohibiting expungement would serve as a tremendous obstacle to those who were arrested, but whose case was dismissed or the charges dropped or there was no disposition of such case. Although such a person was deemed innocent in a court of law, without the opportunity for expungement, he or she would always be guilty in the all important court of public opinion. – McGrew v. State, 733 So.2d 816 (Miss. 1999)
It is always in your best interest to have criminal records expunged from your record, if it is possible. There are certain basic requirements for expungements in Mississippi, and if you qualify and the court grants your petition for expungement, you will have it behind you and not have to worry about it any longer. Take a look at some of the basics of Mississippi expungement law below, and when you are ready call Clarence at 601-991-1099 to get the process started.
Expungement of Felonies and Misdemeanors in Mississippi
There are several different statutes in Mississippi that allow for expungements, and the law is a little different depending on what type of offense you were arrested and allegedly accused of.
- Expungement of a Felony in Mississippi
- Expungement of a Misdemeanor in Mississippi
- Expungement of Juvenile Offenses
- Expungement of a DUI in Mississippi
- Restoration of Firearms Rights
What happens when a Record or Offense is Expunged
It is a common misconception that arrest records or charges “fall off your record” after a certain amount of time passes. This is not true. In order to clear your records, you must take action yourself. When you hire a lawyer to petition the court for expungement, the lawyer will file the petition and proposed expungement order, set it for hearing if necessary, and get the court to execute it. At that point, the court clerk will literally destroy any record of you ever being there by blotting out or blacking out or otherwise removing your name from the criminal docket, by the using white-out, ink, or by cutting out your name from the printed paper. The clerk will also delete your name, social security number, address, phone number, etc. from any court computer records. Finally, the clerk’s office will send a copy of the expungement order to the Mississippi Criminal Information Center.
Once the expungement order reaches the Mississippi Criminal Information Center, the record will be kept in a confidential database maintained by the state that is accessible “only upon written request by a district attorney, a county prosecuting attorney, a municipal court prosecuting attorney, the Attorney General of Mississippi and the Mississippi Law Enforcement Standards and Training Board.” Miss. Code Ann. § 45-27-21 (Supp. 2010). The only reason the expunged conviction may be revealed is “for the purpose of determining habitual offender status and for the use of the Mississippi Law Enforcement Standards and Training Board in giving or retaining law enforcement certification, and to ensure that a person is only eligible for first-offender status one (1) time.” Miss. Code Ann. § 45-27-21 (Supp. 2010).
What is the effect of an Expungement in Mississippi
The effect of an expungement is to “to restore the person, in the contemplation of the law, to the status he occupied before” his or her arrest. Miss. Code Ann. § 41-29-150(d)(2) (Rev. 2009); Miss. Code Ann. § 99-19-71(3) (Rev. 2007). Further, Mississippi law states that “No person as to whom an expunction order has been entered shall be held thereafter under any provision of law to be guilty of perjury or to have otherwise given a false statement by reason of his failure to recite or acknowledge such arrest, indictment or conviction in response to any inquiry made of him for any purpose other than the purpose of determining, in any subsequent proceedings under this section, whether the person is a first offender.” Miss. Code Ann. § 99-19-71(3) (Rev. 2007).
Mississippi law allows expunged records to be used, or asked about, only certain limited instances. So who do you have to tell about an expunged charge or arrest? In 2010 Mississippi modified the laws concerning expunged matters, and the law now states that “[t]he existence of an order of expunction shall not preclude an employer from asking a prospective employee if the employee has had an order of expunction entered on his behalf.” Miss. Code Ann. § 99-19-71(3) (Supp.2010). Further, if you are called for jury duty, and you are asked, you must disclose the expungement to the court (but you can do it in private). Miss. Code Ann. § 99-19-71(3) (Supp.2010); Miss. Code Ann. § 41-29-150(d)(2) (Supp.2010).
How to clear your Record in Mississippi
First, you start the process by calling The Guthrie Firm, PLLC, at 601-991-1099 or toll-free at 866-991-1055. Feel free to contact us by email as well. We will answer any questions you may have, and then get to work on your petition when you want to proceed. We charge a very reasonable flat fee plus court costs for expungements, and if you are eligible we can get them done quickly. Give us a call today to discuss your options. We’ll help you clear your record, get you that second chance, and help you get on with your life.