Your criminal record in Mississippi can affect your life in many ways. However, getting some of your past convictions expunged may allow you to have a fresh start. Convictions that have been expunged don’t appear on background checks.
Convictions that are eligible for expungement
Not all convictions are eligible for expungement, and there is a limit to how many felony convictions a person may have expunged. In general, the court allows a broader range of felonies to be expunged from the records of petitioners that were under the age of 21 when they were convicted.
Any first offender that was convicted of a misdemeanor may petition the court for an expungement. However, traffic violations are not eligible for expungement.
Expungement of felony convictions
Having a felony conviction expunged is more difficult than having a misdemeanor conviction expunged. First, five years must have passed since the person successfully completed their sentence. The following felonies are potentially eligible for expungement:
- Bad check offense
- False pretense
- Possession of a controlled substance or paraphernalia
- Malicious mischief
A person can only be eligible for one felony expungement for felonies committed after the age of 21. Knowing the details of expungement eligibility may influence a person’s criminal defense strategy. For example, a person may be less likely to accept a plea deal if they know that some of the convictions will never be eligible for expungement.
Expungement for felonies committed under the age of 21
Expungement for felonies that were committed by people under the age of 21 also requires a five-year wait after the sentences are completed. There is also a limit of one such expungement per person. However, the only convictions that are not eligible for expungement in this category are violent crimes and felonies related to drug distribution.