What is Expungement?
Expungement deletes your criminal record and restores you to the status you had before the offense. The state removes the record from all official sources. Employers, landlords, and banks should not see an expunged record. The Mississippi Criminal Information Center (CIC) keeps a confidential file of expunged records that the district attorney can access to determine a first-time offender. The district attorney’s office keeps a non-public record for law enforcement purposes.
Mississippi law allows courts to expunge and destroy juvenile records. These records can be seen only by a court order.
Who is Eligible for Expungement?
In general, you are eligible to have your record expunged if:
- You were the victim of identity theft or mistaken identity;
- The case was dismissed or the charges were dropped;
- You were found not guilty;
- You were arrested for a misdemeanor but not formally charged or prosecuted within 12 months of the arrest;
- You were arrested for a misdemeanor and the charges were dismissed;
- Your first time drug offense was dismissed and discharged after you successfully completed your probation;
- You were convicted of certain alcohol-related offenses prior to turning 21 and it has been one year since you completed your sentence;
- You were convicted in municipal court of one or more misdemeanors and it has been two years since your conviction;
- You were convicted of a first time driving under the influence (DUI) offense and it has been five years since you completed your sentence;
- You were convicted in municipal court of a first-offense misdemeanor that is not a traffic violation; or
- You were convicted of a felony offense and it has been five years since you completed your sentence.
There is no limit to how many dismissals or acquittals may be expunged. You may be eligible for an expungement of a conviction if you have misdemeanor convictions or a single felony conviction under Mississippi law. You may only have one felony offense expunged.
To be eligible to expunge a felony conviction, the offense cannot involve any of the following:
- a crime of violence;
- arson in the first degree;
- trafficking in controlled substances;
- a third, fourth, or subsequent driving under the influence (DUI);
- felon in possession of a firearm;
- failure to register as a sex offender;
- witness intimidation;
- abuse, neglect, or exploitation of a vulnerable person; or
If you are uncertain whether you are eligible for expungement, consult with an attorney.
What Effect Does Expungement Have?
Once a Mississippi court grants an expungement, your record is removed from most official sources. The Mississippi Criminal Information Center (CIC) keeps a confidential file of expunged records that the district attorney can access to determine if a person is a first-time offender. The district attorney’s office also keeps a non-public record for law enforcement purposes.
Once your record is expunged, you can legally deny being arrested or convicted in most cases. The law allows employers to ask whether you have “an order of expunction entered.”
When Can I Apply for Expungement?
In most instances, you can apply for expungement of a conviction only after you have completed your sentence. Waiting periods depend on the type of offense you are seeking to have expunged and begin from whatever date is the most recent such as the date of conviction, completion of sentence, completion of probation or parole, or final payment of restitution.
Depending on your conviction, the following waiting periods can apply:
- If your conviction was a first time, non-traffic misdemeanor offense, you can apply immediately after you complete your sentence.
- If your conviction(s) were misdemeanor offenses in municipal court, you must wait two years after your last date of conviction;
- If your conviction is for a felony, you must wait five years after you complete your sentence.
- If you were younger than 21 when you were convicted of an alcohol-related offense, you must wait one year after you complete your sentence.
- If your conviction was for a first time driving under the influence (DUI) offense, you must wait five years after you complete your sentence.
How Do I Apply for Expungement?
To apply for expungement, file a petition in the court in which you were charged. Each court may have a different system. Make sure to contact the court where you were convicted for instructions. The forms to file for expungement in Mississippi are not online.
In general, here are the five steps to apply for expungement:
- Prepare your own affidavit. An affidavit is a written testimony. Tell the court about your good moral character since your offense. State that you have completed your sentence and if you have any other convictions or outstanding civil judgments against you.
- Get two affidavits from people not related to you.in your community that can speak to your good character and reputation.
- File your petition along with the supporting documents to the clerk of the court in the county where you were charged. If you are seeking an expungement for a felony, send a written notice to the district attorney before any hearing on your petition.
- Pay the $150 fee.
- Make copies of everything and keep one for yourself.
The court may either hold a hearing on your petition or the court will notify you when the judge has made a decision.
More Information About Expungement