Redemption and an opportunity for a fresh start are necessary elements of a fair criminal justice system.
Oftentimes people are arrested and charged with crimes that may not be prosecuted. In addition, some defendants, after being convicted of a crime, learn from their mistakes and are able to become law abiding citizens and should be given a second chance to become productive members of society. In both of these situations, the Hinds County District Attorney’s Office’s Expungement Division works with criminal defendants to ensure that their criminal records, to the extent that Mississippi laws allow, do not hinder them from becoming successful in life. The Hinds County District Attorney’s Office believes in second chances and through the attorneys and staff of its Expungement Division works with convicted criminal defendants to make those second chances occur. The goal of the Hinds County District Attorney’s Office’s is to ensure that every criminal defendant who is eligible for an expungement receives the advantage of having their criminal public record erased.
Mississippi Code Section 99-15-26(5) provides that: upon the filing of a petition therefor, the court shall expunge the record of any case in which an arrest was made, the person arrested was released and the case was dismissed or the charges were dropped, there was no disposition of such case, or the person was found not guilty at trial. All persons that have been arrested for a criminal act, whether such crime is a misdemeanor or a felony is entitled to have their record expunged if the criminal charges are dropped, dismissed, or the person is found by a Judge or jury to be not guilty of the charges alleged.
Convictions – Misdemeanors
Any person who has been convicted of a misdemeanor that is not a traffic violation, and who is a first offender, may petition the justice, county, circuit or municipal court in which the conviction was had for an order to expunge any such conviction from all public records.
Convictions – Felonies
A person who has been convicted of a felony and who has paid all criminal fines and costs of court imposed in the sentence of conviction may petition the court in which the conviction was had for an order to expunge one (1) conviction from all public records five (5) years after the successful completion of all terms and conditions of the sentence for the conviction upon a hearing as determined in the discretion of the court; however, a person is not eligible to expunge a felony classified as:
(i) A crime of violence as provided in Section 97-3-2;
(ii) Arson, first degree as provided in Sections 97-17-1 and 97-17-3;
(iii) Trafficking in controlled substances as provided in Section 41-29-139;
(iv) A third, fourth or subsequent DUI as provided in Section 63-11-30(2)(c) and (2)(d);
(v) Felon in possession of a firearm as provided in Section 97-37-5;
(vi) Failure to register as a sex offender as provided in Section 45-33-33;
(vii) Voyeurism as provided in Section 97-29-61;
(viii) Witness intimidation as provided in Section 97-9-113;
(ix) Abuse, neglect or exploitation of a vulnerable person as provided in Section 43-47-19; or
(x) Embezzlement as provided in Sections 97-11-25 and 97-23-19.
A person is eligible for only one (1) felony expunction. A felony expungement includes all convictions that arose from a common nucleus of operative facts as determined in the discretion of the court. However, no public official is eligible for an expunction section for any conviction related to his or her official duties.