The arrest and conviction of a crime has a continuing negative effect on an individual’s record. For instance, employers and professional schools (i.e. medical, legal, accounting and nursing) all make decisions on whether to hire or admit a candidate, in part or in whole, on the basis of their criminal history. Moreover, a criminal history may prevent you from receiving a loan, leasing an apartment, holding a professional license, voting and even purchasing a firearm.
In Mississippi, it is possible to expunge a record of misdemeanor and some felony convictions. First, an arrest record can be expunged in Mississippi if the charges were remanded, nonadjudicated, dismissed or resolved through pretrial diversion. Many individuals arrested for crimes are not convicted and charges may be dismissed at the request of the defendant, prosecutor, police or victim. Convictions are also avoided when the Defendant is acquitted at trial. Moreover, misdemeanor and some felony convictions may be expunged if certain conditions are present. However, the Court will not automatically expunge a criminal record. It is necessary to retain an expungement lawyer to prepare a petition for expungement and obtain an Order from the Court to expunging the crime from your record.
As an experienced expungement attorney in Mississippi, I will be on your side to navigate the complex issues of expungement of misdemeanor and felony convictions, and offer direct, meaningful legal advice designed to achieve your desired results. Should you need professional, aggressive representation to expunge your criminal record, please contact my firm, The Law Offices of M. Devin Whitt, PLLC, at 601-607-5055. Prior to contacting me, I would invite you to read the following discussion relating to expunging a criminal record in Mississippi.Expungement of Arrest but no Conviction (Miss. Code Ann. § 99-15-123 (3))
Even if criminal charges are dismissed or the individual is found “not guilty” at trial, there will still be a record of an arrest that will remain on the individual’s “rap sheet” forever. Many people learn this the hard way when they are not hired for a job or refused admission to school.
Each time a police officer makes an arrest, a written record of the arrest (reports, fingerprint cards, etc.) is made and kept at the records division of the law enforcement agency making the arrest. The police will then forward the information to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”) and National Crime Information Center (“NCIC”). The records are also usually forwarded to a central records agency maintained by the State. Records of the arrest also appear in the Court prosecuting the case. These databases provide the information which is contained in a person's criminal history.
Once an arrest is reported to NCIC and docketed in the public court records, the record of the arrest stays there forever. The arrest should be noted as an "arrest," not a "conviction." However, these types of details are often not present when information is entered into these databases. For example potential employers who are conducting criminal background checks on applicants typically do not know to inquire as to whether the individual was only arrested for the crime, or if he or she was actually convicted. Some employers or schools will simply see the charge and then decline to hire the applicant or admit the person into school.Expungement of Misdemeanor Arrest and Conviction (§ 99-19 71)
You may request an expungement of your misdemeanor conviction in Mississippi if it was your first offense. It may even be possible to expunge two first misdemeanor convictions if they occurred out of the same set of facts.
Mississippi Code 99-19-71states that "any person who has been convicted of a misdemeanor [except a traffic violation] may petition [the court having jurisdiction over the case] for an order to expunge any such conviction from all public records. ..." The only requirement under this statute to get this expungement are that: the conviction was a misdemeanor; and, the conviction was the person's first offense.
To get a conviction expunged under this statute, you need to retain a Mississippi expungement lawyer or attorney. A Petition for Expungement must be filed. At the end of the process, should the judge find you have been “rehabilitated”, he will enter the expungement Order. After the order is served on the appropriate officials, your record will be completely wiped clean. All documents with your information relating to the conviction will be destroyed. In addition, any reference to your conviction in computerized databases will be deleted.Expungement Record of Individual Completing Pre-Trial Diversion (PTI)
Pretrial diversion or pretrial intervention ("PTI") is a program where a person who has been charged with a crime can avoid a misdemeanor or felony conviction. Upon completion of a PTI program, the Court will enter an Order dismissing the criminal case. At this point, the individual will also qualify for expungement (§99-15-123 (3)) of any record of the charge. After the record is expunged, it will be like the arrest and charge never occurred.Expungement of Felonies in Mississippi (99-19-71)
Mississippi has a new expungement law that now allows certain felony convictions to be expunged from a person's criminal record. The felony convictions that may be expunged from a person’s record in Mississippi include:
- a bad check offense under Section 97-19-55;
- possession of a controlled substance or paraphernalia under Section 41-29-139(c)(d);
- false pretense under Section 97-19-39;
- larceny under Section 97-17-41;
- malicious mischief under Section 97-17-67; or
- felony shoplifting under Section 97-23-93.
While this statue will allow an individual to expunge one felony conviction from their record, certain requirements must be met. For example, the person seeking to expunge the record must wait five years after the successful completion of all terms and conditions of the sentence of conviction prior to seeking expungement of the record. Then, the individual through his attorney must file a Petition for Expungement with the Circuit Court in the jurisdiction where the conviction occurred and prove to the Court that the individual has been “rehabilitated.”