Convicted criminals carry a heavy burden in the United States. Though their sentence complete and restitution paid, many people continue to pay for their mistake for years. Whether applying for an apartment, interviewing for a job or attempting to secure a home loan, a criminal record can have devastating effects on a young person’s life.
Thankfully, Mississippi law allows some people to erase these records and get the second chance they deserve. Some criminal records are eligible for expungement by state courts. How does it work?
Crimes available for expungement
The law permits expungement in only a few cases:
- Any non-violent misdemeanor conviction: If a person has no other convictions, they may apply to expunge a misdemeanor, with a few exceptions. Drug trafficking, sex offenses, violent crimes, and traffic violations remain on one’s record. Even some felonies are eligible, provided five years have passed since the completion of one’s sentence, including paying all fines and fees.
- Intervention courts: Many cases involving drugs, mental health or veterans go through Mississippi’s intervention courts. Established in 2019, the courts focus on the connections between drug abuse and criminal activity. The courts assign defendants to rehabilitation programs, rewarding those who complete the program expungement of their crimes.
- Deferred adjudication: Some people may not know that even arrests remain on a criminal record. Deferred adjudication exists for those arrested whose case was dismissed or charges dropped. This process removes the arrest from one’s record upon conditions set by the court.
- Judicial certificate of rehabilitation: Individuals can petition to expunge their Mississippi criminal record if they have a certificate of rehabilitation. Awarded from the court of conviction, these certificates can help expunge a record if an individual “…has led a useful, productive and law-abiding life.”
Consult with a lawyer for more information
Those who believe they are eligible for expungement can reach out to a local attorney familiar with criminal defense. A lawyer can help assemble the necessary paperwork, fill out an application and advise in hearings or appeals.