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Mississippi Court Records

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Are Criminal Records Public In Mississippi?

By Mississippi Code § 25–61–3, Mississippi criminal records are public records and are accessible to members of the general public. The law makes any record held by a public body a public record. According to the statute, a public body is any department created by law, the Constitution, or by ordinance, executive order, or resolution. The public body responsible for keeping and maintaining Mississippi criminal records is the Mississippi Department of Public Safety Criminal Information Center.

Mississippi Code § 25–1–109, however, prohibits law enforcement agencies from disclosing the identity of a person arrested, cited, or held for a misdemeanor. Such records are confidential unless the person is formally charged and arrested for the crime. Otherwise, only law enforcement agencies, the Mississippi Department of Human Services, and child daycare providers have access to the records. 

What Is Included In A Criminal Record In Mississippi?

Mississippi criminal records are official documents detailing the criminal activities of an individual within the jurisdiction of the state. These records generally contain all felony and misdemeanor offenses of a subject in Mississippi, as well as the arrests, charges, and conviction information. Mississippi criminal records typically comprise the following:

  • Biographical data of the subject, including the full name, date of birth, gender, race, ethnicity
  • A mug shot
  • A full set of fingerprints
  • The subject’s physical description, including the height, weight, hair and eye color
  • Criminal indictments and offenses
  • Details of the most recent and past warrants, convictions, arrest history and dispositions

How To Look Up My Criminal Records In Mississippi?

Although the local law enforcement agencies are primarily tasked with generating and managing crime-related data, reports, and records, the Mississippi Department of Public Safety Criminal Information Center is the central repository of all Mississippi criminal records. To get a copy of a Mississippi criminal record, complete a Release Background Authorization Form. Submit this form along with a $32 money order and a copy of the State Identification Card or Driver’s License to: 

Mississippi Bureau of Investigation 

Attn: Criminal Information Center/Background Checks

3891 Highway 468 WEST PEARL, 

MS 39208

The subject is allowed to request a copy of the criminal record for a third party on the form. In such cases, state the name and mailing address of the authorized third party in the boxes provided. Note that the form must be signed before a notary public.

Persons who are about to be employed in an MSDH licensed healthcare or child care facility may obtain a copy of the criminal record from the MSDH Criminal History Record Check Division. Complete the Fingerprint Applicant Information Form and submit by mail or in person at the Licensure Office at 143B LeFleur’s Square, Jackson, MS 39211, during business hours. 

The business hours are on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday from 9 a.m. to noon. Go along with a valid photo ID and the $50 processing fee. The fee is payable by money order, cashier’s check, business check, or via the online payment portal. Make out the payment to the Mississippi State Department of Health. 

How Can I Get My Criminal Records For Free In Mississippi?

Requesting Mississippi criminal records requires paying a fee. Obtaining the criminal record from the Mississippi Department of Public Safety costs $32, while it costs $50 to get a copy of the criminal record from the Mississippi State Department of Health. As such, the State of Mississippi makes no provision for indigent people to obtain Mississippi criminal records for free. 

How To Search Criminal Records Online In Mississippi?

The Criminal Information Center Division of the Mississippi Department of Public Safety has no online portal where interested persons can search for Mississippi criminal records; neither does the Mississippi State Department of Health Criminal History Record Check Division. The MSDH, however, has an online payment portal where Mississippi criminal records requesters can pay the required fees.

Records that are considered public may be accessible from some third-party websites. These websites often make searching simpler, as they are not limited by geographic location, and search engines on these sites may help when starting a search for a specific or multiple records. To begin using such a search engine on a third-party or government website, interested parties usually must provide:

  • The name of the person involved in the record, unless said person is a juvenile
  • The location or assumed location of the record or person involved. This includes information such as the city, county, or state that the person resides in or was accused in

Third-party sites are independent of government sources and are not sponsored by these government agencies. Because of this, record availability on third-party sites may vary.

How To Get Criminal Records Expunged In Mississippi?

According to Mississippi expungement law, the following category of persons may petition for the expunction of a criminal record:

  • Persons who were arrested and later released
  • Anyone that was arrested and issued a citation or detained for a misdemeanor
  • Individuals who were convicted of a misdemeanor 
  • Anyone convicted of certain felonies

Note that a public official is not eligible for expungement for any conviction related to official duties. By Mississippi Code § 99–19–71, anyone who was arrested and later released may be eligible to have the Mississippi criminal record expunged if:

  • The charges were dropped
  • The court dismissed the case,
  • The petitioner was found not guilty
  • There was no disposition of the case

Persons convicted of a misdemeanor may petition to have the conviction expunged if:

  • The misdemeanor is not a traffic violation
  • The petitioner is a first offender

To expunge a felony conviction in Mississippi, five years must have passed after the successful completion of the terms of the sentence. However, not all felony offenses can be expunged under the Mississippi expungement law. Note also that an eligible petitioner is allowed only one expungement under the law. The law permits the expungement of the following felonies: 

  • Bad check offense
  • Pretense
  • Possession of a controlled substance or paraphernalia
  • Larceny
  • Shoplifting
  • Malicious mischief

On the other hand, the following felonies cannot be expunged:

  • Crimes of violence
  • First-degree arson
  • Trafficking in controlled substances
  • Subsequent DUI offenses following the second conviction
  • Felon in possession of a firearm
  • Voyeurism
  • Failure to register as a sex offender
  • Witness intimidation
  • Neglect, abuse, or exploitation of a vulnerable person
  • Embezzlement 

A person who was arrested, issued a citation, or detained for a misdemeanor offense may be qualified under Mississippi Code Code § 99–15–59 to petition for Mississippi criminal record expungement if:

  • No formal charges were filed or prosecuted within 12 months of the arrest
  • The charges were filed but were later dismissed

Under Mississippi Code §99–15–123, an offender that has completed a pretrial intervention program may be eligible to have the Mississippi criminal record expunged. The pretrial intervention is a program that allows individuals who have been charged with an offense to avoid a felony or misdemeanor conviction. Once a person has completed the pretrial intervention program, the court dismisses the charges. At that point, the individual is eligible for expungement of any record of the charge. To qualify for the pretrial intervention program, Mississippi Code § 99–15–107 sets down the following criteria:

  • The applicant must not have been charged with a crime of violence, including aggravated assault, manslaughter, kidnapping, human trafficking, poisoning, and robbery. 
  • The charges against the applicant must not be for an offense relating to trafficking in a controlled substance

If eligible for an expungement, file a petition for expungement of criminal records at the court that handled the case. The total filing fee for the petition is $150; $100 to be sent into the Judicial System Operation Fund, $40.00 to the District Attorneys Operation Fund, and $10.00 to be kept by the circuit clerk collecting the fee for administration purposes. Give written notice to the district attorney at least ten days before the date of the hearing. 

If the court grants the petition for the expungement of the criminal record, the record becomes inaccessible to the public. The subject of the record is permitted to deny the existence of the record without being guilty of perjury. The expungement order restores the offender to their previous status before the arrest, indictment, or conviction.

How To Get Criminal Records Sealed In Mississippi?

Mississippi law allows only for the sealing of juvenile criminal records. Under Mississippi Code § 43–21–263, the youth court may at any time, seal a juvenile criminal record if the following eligibility criteria have been met:

  • The petitioner has reached the age of twenty
  • The youth court dismissed the case
  • The youth court set aside the adjudication 

The court may seal the record on its own volition or the application of the subject of the record. If qualified to seal a Mississippi criminal record, file a petition with the relevant youth court. The decision to grant the petition is completely at the discretion of the court.

Who Can See My Expunged/sealed Criminal Record In Mississippi?

Once a Mississippi criminal record is expunged, the record cannot be accessed by members of the public. The Mississippi Criminal Information Center, however, retains a nonpublic copy of the record. This copy is kept only to determine whether, in future proceedings, the person is a first offender. The district attorney’s office also has access to the expunged criminal record for only law enforcement purposes.

The subject of the expunged criminal record is allowed to deny the existence of the record in most cases. However, it must be disclosed in subsequent proceedings to determine whether the person is a first offender. Prospective employers are also entitled under Mississippi Code § 99–19–71 to ask the subject about the existence of the expunged record.

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