Expungement in Mississippi
Expungement is the legal removal of criminal and arrest records for specific charges and convictions. When a file is expunged, the individual is free to claim that the offense and arrest never occurred. This includes stating it in a court of law. Limiting access to the files is also part of the expungement process. The files will be accessible only to certain government agencies, with no public or law enforcement access. Because expungement is a privilege granted by the court rather than a right, the court has the authority to deny any request for expungement and to determine who is eligible for expungement.
In Mississippi, juvenile records can be destroyed with the help of a youth court order. Records of misdemeanor first-time convictions and drug offenders where the case was dismissed after probation are eligible for expungement. However, according to Mississippi law 99-19-71, an individual’s records may be retained in these circumstances for determining purposes in subsequent proceedings. All public records, as well as records pertaining to an indictment, trial, arrest, sentence, or disposition, are erasable. However, under Mississippi law 43-21-265, certain juvenile medical or mental health examination records cannot be expunged. There is also no expungement for any violation of implied consent. Records containing sexual offenses that necessitate dissemination are not permitted to be erased.
Eligibility for Expungement
Under Mississippi law, only a small number of cases can be expunged. Cases involving juvenile release and arrest that have been dismissed, had all charges dropped, or had no disposition may be eligible for erasure. However, there can be no pending charges. With the exception of traffic violations, first-time misdemeanor convictions may be expunged. Any person who has been arrested and released after the case has been dismissed, the charges have been dropped, or the case has not been resolved may apply for expungement. Exclusions in these circumstances include charging an individual with an offense related to the sale, transfer, barter, manufacture, dispensing, or distribution of a controlled substance or possession with intent to distribute, sell, barter, manufacture, transfer, or dispense a controlled substance under Section 41-29-139. There are three exceptions to this rule: a charge for possession of less than one ounce of marijuana, an offense for possession of more than one kilogram of marijuana, or an offense under Mississippi Implied Consent Law 99-19-71.
An individual who has served a sentence or probation period and pled guilty within six months of March 31, 1983, is eligible for expungement. Anyone who has been cited for a misdemeanor but has not been formally charged within twelve months of the arrest or who has had all charges dismissed may be eligible to petition for expungement. Other eligibility conditions may apply.
Petition for Expungement
Juveniles must file an expungement petition with the appropriate court. Those who have been arrested and have had their charges dismissed or dropped must petition the court that handled their case. Individuals must wait the specified amount of time before petitioning the court in all other circumstances.