If a person is convicted of a crime in Mississippi, there are some circumstances where his or her criminal record can be removed. This process is called expungement and it returns the person to the status he or she had before the offense was committed.
Criminal records may be expunged in several situations. These include where the case was dismissed or the charges were dropped, the person was found not guilty, he or she was arrested for a misdemeanor but was not formally charged or prosecuted within 12 months of the arrest or was arrested for a misdemeanor and the charges were dismissed.
Sometimes, a first-time offense also is eligible for expungement. These include a conviction for certain alcohol-related offenses before turning 21 if it has been one year since he or she completed the sentence and a conviction for a first time driving under the influence offense and it has been five years since the conviction. Also, first time drug offenses may be dismissed and discharged after the person has completed probation.
Mississippi allows only one felony offense to be expunged and there are some felonies that cannot be expunged. These include crimes of violence, arson in the first degree, trafficking of controlled substances, abuse, neglect or exploitation of a vulnerable person, witness intimidation and embezzlement.
Applying for expungement
Usually, a person can apply for an expungement only after completing his or sentence. The waiting times for expungement depend on the type of offense, completion of probation and/or sentence and final payment of restitution.
The qualifications for expungement are dependent on the individual’s circumstances, but an experienced attorney can review the situation and provide advice about next steps.