Mississippi law allows for those with previous criminal records to obtain professional licenses despite those past convictions. This bill, known as the Fresh Start Act, became a state law in 2019, and according to the Mississippi Legislature, provides past offenders with the opportunity to gain licensure in a variety of professional fields so they may improve their lives once they complete a jail term or other punishment.
While this law can provide positive opportunities for previous offenders, those seeking professional licenses may want to understand certain rules and caveats that could affect their eligibility.
Past convictions may limit certain licensing areas
While this program encourages those with criminal records to enter new professions and improve their lives once they pay their debts to society, they may find themselves with limited or zero access to certain licenses depending on the nature of the crime they committed. For example, individuals convicted of selling or transporting illegal drugs may find themselves unable to gain certain medical licenses under the guidelines set by the state. Those seeking licenses may challenge these rulings if they believe any seem unwarranted or unfair.
Challenging Fresh Start Act rulings
According to guidelines and standards set by the Fresh Start Act, individuals seeking licenses in fields that do not fall under any conflicts connected to past offenses cannot have their applications rejected simply because of their past. Applicants who feel a rejection of their professional license applications was not fair or unwarranted may challenge a ruling and seek legal advice or assistance when doing so.
Applicants may want to review guideline standards before they appeal any Fresh Start Act ruling, as the board may consider a variety of circumstances, such as whether an applicant sought any additional rehabilitation services to support a more productive lifestyle, before making a final decision.