Under Mississippi criminal law, nonadjudication provides yet another way to avoid a felony or misdemeanor conviction. Nonadjudication is similar to pretrial diversion/intervention, but there are a few differences. Below are some frequently asked questions about nonadjudication:
What is Nonadjudication?
Mississippi law provides for nonadjudication of certain crimes. Pursuant to Mississippi Code Section 99-15-26, nonadjudication allows a person to avoid a conviction, provided they complete conditions ordered by the Court.
Am I eligible for the Mississippi Nonadjudication Program?
The requirements for nonadjudication are as follows:
- You must be charged with a felony or misdemeanor that does not involve a “crime against the person” (violent crime);
- You must not have previously participated in nonadjudication for a past offense;
- You must have no prior felonies (prior misdemeanors still qualify for nonadjudication);
- You must not be charged with an offense involving the sale of a controlled substance, possession with intent to sell a controlled substance, or simple possession of more than one kilogram of marijuana (Note: certain other marijuana-related crimes will still qualify for nonadjudication).
Who decides if I get Nonadjudication?
The prosecutor will decide whether to offer you nonadjudication. Ultimately, it is up to the judge to decide whether or not to nonadjudicate your case.
What happens if I qualify for Nonadjudication?
If you qualify for nonadjudication, you and your lawyer will appear before the judge for a plea hearing. At the hearing, you will enter a “guilty” plea to the charges. However, the judge will not accept your guilty plea, place you in “nonadjudication status,” and order you to comply with certain conditions for a specified period of time.
What are the conditions I have to follow on nonadjudication?
Common conditions of nonadjudication include:
- No further criminal activity;
- Pay restitution to any victims;
- Community service;
- Pay fines;
- Pass drug tests; and
- Completion of drug, alcohol or psychological counseling, if necessary.
How long do I have to stay in the nonadjudication program?
In felony cases, the Court can require the Defendant to participate in the program for up to five (5) years.
In misdemeanor cases, the Court can require the Defendant to remain in the program for up to two (2) years.
What happens if I violate the conditions of nonadjudication?
If you violate the conditions of nonadjudication, the judge will simply accept your guilty plea and sentence you as he deems appropriate.
What happens if I complete the nonadjudication program?
- The case will be dismissed;
- You will not have a felony conviction on your record; and
- You qualify to have your record completely expunged.
So how do I get Nonadjudication?
Nonadjudication is not automatic. You’ve got to have an experienced Mississippi criminal defense lawyer to convince the prosecutor and the judge that you belong in nonadjudication, and not prison.
If you have been charged with a crime and would like to discuss nonadjudication, or other issues relating to your case, please contact me.