What Mississippi laws and codes govern the registration of sex offenders?
Mississippi has an entire chapter of its code dedicated to the administration of the Mississippi Sex Offenders Registration Program. Section 45-33-21, et seq. of the Mississippi Code Annotated states that it is Mississippi’s policy “to assist local law enforcement agencies’ efforts to protect their communities by requiring criminal sex offenders to register, to record their addresses of residence, to be photographed and fingerprinted, and to authorize the release of necessary and relevant information about criminal sex offenders to the public as provided in this chapter, which may be referred to as the Mississippi Sex Offenders Registration Law.”
Are juvenile sex offenders required to register?
Section 45-33-25 of the Mississippi Code Annotated states that “Registration shall not be required . . . for an offender who is under fourteen (14) years of age,” which by implication means that registration is required for an offender 14 years of age or older. For a sex offender in the custody of youth court, the responsible agency (responsible for obtaining information upon conviction of a sex crime and informing the Mississippi Department of Public Safety) is the youth court.
When and how often is a sex offender required to register?
Sex offenders are required to register within three days of the date of their judgment of conviction, unless they are immediately sent to prison, in which case they must register before they are released. They must also report to a Department of Public Safety Driver’s License Station within ten days of registration to obtain a sex offender registration card. Any person required to register who is neither incarcerated, detained nor committed at the time the requirement to register attaches must report to their county sheriff to register within three business days, and must also report to a Department of Public Safety Driver’s License Station within ten days of registration to obtain a sex offender registration card. A sex offender that is moving to or returning to Mississippi must notify the Department of Public Safety at least ten days before coming to Mississippi, and must report to the county sheriff within three business days after getting here. Reregistration: All sex offenders must reregister every ninety days. This includes the submission of current information and photograph to the department and the verification of registration information, including the street address and telephone number of the registrant; name, street address and telephone number of the registrant’s employment along with any other registration information that may need to be verified and the payment of any required fees.
What are some other registration requirements?
The “responsible agency” is required to inform a person required to register of their responsibilities under Mississippi’s sex offender registration laws, but, among other requirements:
- The person is required to personally appear at a Department of Public Safety Driver’s License Station at least ten days before changing address.
- Any change of address to another state shall be reported to the department by personally appearing at a Department of Public Safety Driver’s License Station not less than ten days before the change of address. The offender shall comply with any registration requirement in the new state.
- The person must register in any state where the person is employed, carries on a vocation, is stationed in the military or is a student.
- Address verifications shall be made by personally appearing at a Department of Public Safety Driver’s License Station within the required time period.
- Notification or verification of a change in status of a registrant’s enrollment, employment or vocation at any public or private educational institution, including any secondary school, trade or professional institution, or institution of higher education shall be reported to the department by personally appearing at a Department of Public Safety Driver’s License Station within three business days of the change.
- If the person has been convicted of a sex offense, the person shall notify any organization for which the person volunteers in which volunteers have direct, private or unsupervised contact with minors that the person has been convicted of a sex offense as provided in Section 45-33-32(1) of the Mississippi Code Annotated.
- Upon any change of name or employment, a registrant is required to personally appear at a Department of Public Safety Driver’s License Station within three business days of the change.
How long is an offender required to register?
Status as a “sex offender” and the requirement for registration are permanent in Mississippi, unless the offender petitions for relief of the registration requirement according to the rules laid out in Mississippi Code Annotated § 45-33-47. The requirements for a Petition for Relief from Duty to Register are demanding (a number of offenses are simply not eligible), but if you are interested in pursuing relief from the registration requirement contact us for further information.
What happens if a sex offender fails to register?
Failure to register, or to provide any registration or other information, including, but not limited to, initial registration, reregistration or change of address information, change of employment, change of name or required notification to a volunteer organization, or forgery of information or submission of information under false pretenses, is a felony under Mississippi law punishable by a fine not more than $5,000.00 or imprisonment in the state penitentiary for not more than five years, or both.
Can I have my sex offense expunged from my record?
Section 45-33-55 of the Mississippi Code Annotated states:
Except for juvenile criminal history information that has been sealed by order of the court, this chapter exempts sex offenses from laws of this state or court orders authorizing the destroying, expunging, purging or sealing of criminal history records to the extent such information is authorized for dissemination under this chapter.
Must a sex offender notify their employer?
Section 45-33-59 of the Mississippi Code Annotated states:
- Any person convicted of a sex offense who is employed in any position, or who contracts with a person to provide personal services, where the employment position or personal services contract will bring the person into close regular contact with children shall notify in writing the employer or the person with whom the person has contracted of his sex offender status.
- This section applies to all registered sex offenders regardless of the date of conviction.
How does a person access sex offender registrant information?
Mississippi’s version of “Megan’s Law,” which requires law enforcement agencies to release relevant and necessary information regarding sex offenders to the public, has been in effect since 2000. Among other provisions requiring county sheriffs and the Mississippi Department of Public Safety to provide the name, address, place of employment, crime for which convicted, date and place of conviction, and other information regarding registered sex offenders, the law says that “the department [of Public Safety] may utilize an internet web site or other electronic means to release the information.”
To search the registry of persons residing in Mississippi who have been convicted of certain sexual offenses or attempted offenses requiring registration, click here.
Mississippi Sex Crimes Attorney
The Guthrie Firm, PLLC specializes in the defense of those accused of sex crimes. The registration requirement is always of paramount concern in these types of cases, and is one of the main Collateral Consequences of a Criminal Conviction which must be explained to you and considered when defending your case. Call us at The Guthrie Firm, PLLC at (601) 991-1099 or toll free at 866-991-1555, or email Clarence at firstname.lastname@example.org. We offer free consultations to determine if we are the right firm for the defense of your case, and we’ll be glad to help you.