Expungment of your record in Mississippi is a possibility, if it was your first offense.
People frequently call me to ask if I can get a criminal charge removed, or “expunged” from their records. Most of these people want the charges expunged for one of the following reasons: (1) they are applying for a job that requires a criminal background check; (2) they are applying to a professional school that requires disclosure of arrests or convictions; or (3) they are applying for a professional license that requires both disclosure of criminal history and a background check.
A criminal record can cause significant delays, and even outright denials, of applications for jobs, schools or licensure. For this reason, anyone entitled to an expungement should obtain one as soon as possible.
What is an expungement? Quite simply, an expungement means that any record or evidence of the criminal charge, arrest and/or conviction is erased from all official records. Put another way, when the Court enters an expungement order, it’s like the arrest never even happened.
Under Mississippi law, there are basically three (3) types of expungements. This post will deal with the first of those three–the first-offender expungement (the remaining types will be discussed in future posts).
Section 99-19-71 of the Mississippi Code states 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 statute goes on to state that after the Court enters an Order of Expungement, the person may truthfully say–even under oath–that he has never been convicted of the crime.
The only requirements to get this expungement are that (1) the conviction was for a misdemeanor; and (2) the conviction was the person’s first offense.
While the requirements for this expungement are simple, it is not something that happens automatically. Further, this is not something that the Court or prosecutor will do for you. If you want an expungement, you need to retain a Mississippi criminal defense lawyer. A Petition for Expungement will have to be filed and navigated through the system. At the end of the process, the Judge will enter the expungement order. After the order is served on the appropriate officials, your record is completely wiped clean. All documents relating to the conviction will literally be shredded. Even mugshots are destroyed. In addition, any reference to the conviction in computerized databases or networks is deleted.
The first-offender expungement statute gives a person a chance to clean up his or her record, and fix a bad decision or poor judgment. Anyone eligible for a first-offender expungement should take advantage of the benefits this statute provides. If you have questions, please contact Mississippi expungement lawyer Curt Crowley.