Expungement is the lawful erasure of criminal records and arrest records for certain charges and convictions. When a file is expunged the individual is free to state that the offense never happened and the arrest never happened. This includes declaring as such in a court of law. Expungement also includes limiting access to the files. Only certain government agencies will have access to the files and exclude public access and law enforcement access. Because expungement is a privilege from the court and not a right, the court has the power to deny any request for expungement and has the right to deem who is eligible for expungement.
In Mississippi juvenile records can be destroyed through an order from the youth court. Misdemeanor first-time conviction records and drug offender records where the matter was dismissed following probation are eligible for expungement. However under these circumstances an individual's records may be retained for determining purposes for subsequent proceedings according to Mississippi law 99-19-71. All public records and all records in relation to an indictment, trial, arrest, sentence, or disposition can be erased. However in Mississippi certain juvenile medical or mental health examination records cannot be expunged according to Mississippi law 43-21-265. There is no expungement for any implied consent violation either. Records contain sexual offenses requiring dissemination are not allowed to be erased.
Very few cases are allowed to be expunged under Mississippi jurisdiction. Juvenile release and arrest cases that have been dismissed, had all charges dropped, or where there was no disposition may be eligible for erasure. However no pending charges can exist. First offender misdemeanor convictions, with the exception of traffic violations, may be expunged. Any person who has been arrested and released where the case was dismissed, where the charges have been dropped, or where there was no disposition of the case may apply for expungement. Exclusions in these circumstances include the charging of an individual to an offense that pertains to the sale, transfer, barter, manufacture, dispensing, or distribution of a controlled substance or the possession with the intent to distribute, sell, barter, manufacture, transfer, or dispense a controlled substance under Section 41-29-139. There are three exclusions to these circumstances: a charge is made and involves less than one ounce of marijuana, an offense pertaining to the possession of more than one kilogram of marijuana, or and offense under the Mississippi Implied Consent law of 99-19-71.
An individual who has served a sentence or probation period and pled guilty within six month prior to the thirty-first of March 1983, will be eligible for expungement. Any person who has be cited for a misdemeanor but was not formally charged within twelve months of the arrest or who has had all charges dismissed may be eligible to petition for an expungement. Other circumstances for eligibility may apply.
Juveniles must petition the court with the proper jurisdiction for expungement. Those arrested and dismissed of charges or had charges dropped will need to petition the court in which the case was handled. In all other circumstances, individuals must wait the designated amount of time before petitioning the court. See also:
Mississippi Felony External link (opens in new window)
Mississippi Misdemeanors External link (opens in new window)
Mississippi Gun Laws External link (opens in new window)