In Mississippi, your criminal record may be expunged -- that is, erased or sealed -- under the circumstances described below. If your record is expunged, it will be hidden from public view, but law enforcement agencies will still have access to it. In most cases, you will be permitted to say that you were not arrested or convicted of a crime.
If You Were Not Convicted of a Crime
You were arrested and released. You may petition to have your arrest record expunged if:
- the case was dismissed
- the charges were dropped, or
- there was no disposition of the case.
(Miss. Code Ann. §§ 99-15-26(5), 99-19-71(4).)
You were arrested, cited, or detained for a misdemeanor. You may petition to have your record expunged if:
- you were not formally charged or prosecuted within 12 months of your arrest, or
- the charges against you were dismissed.
If You Were Convicted of a Crime
Misdemeanor offenses. If you were convicted of a misdemeanor, other than a traffic violation, and you are a first offender, you may petition to have your conviction expunged. (Miss. Code Ann. § 99-19-71(1).)
Felony offenses. Five years after successfully completing the terms of your sentence, you may petition to expunge your conviction if it is one of the following felonies, as described in the Mississippi Codes:
- a bad check offense under Section 97-19-55
- possession of a controlled substance or paraphernalia under Section 41-29-139(c)
- false pretense under Section 97-19-39
- larceny under Section 97-17-41
- malicious mischief under Section 97-17-67, or
- shoplifting under Section 97-23-93.
You are eligible for only one expungement under this law.
(Miss. Code Ann. § 99-19-71(2).)
Controlled substance violations. For most controlled substance violations, if you have successfully completed an assigned period of probation or treatment under a suspended sentence, you may petition to have your conviction expunged. (Miss Code Ann. § 41-29-150.)
Sex offenses. If you were required to register as a sex offender, the underlying conviction cannot be expunged. (Miss. Code Ann. § 45-33-55.)
Getting Legal Help
Cleaning up a criminal record can be complicated. If you are not sure whether your record qualifies for expungement in Mississippi -- or for advice about your personal situation -- you should contact a qualified criminal defense attorney. A good lawyer can guide you each step of the way.