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Mississippi Court Records

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Mississippi Sex Offenses and Why They are Different 

Mississippi courts, law enforcement, and prosecutors consider Mississippi sex offenses to be more grievous than other criminal offenses committed in the state. Consequently, the penalties for sex crimes are usually more grievous than other criminal offenses. This is because the state and society consider sex offenses to be the worst of all crimes, especially when they involve minors. Hence, a conviction for a sex offense could result in difficulty finding jobs and housing, loss of privacy and other privileges, and possible damage to career, reputation, and relationships. According to state laws, convicted offenders must register as sex offenders for the safety of the citizens of Mississippi. In addition, while other offenses may become eligible for expungement depending on the offender’s subsequent convictions, offenses of a sexual nature typically remain on the offenders Mississippi criminal record throughout their lifetime.

What is Mississippi Sex Crime? 

Sex crimes in Mississippi are crimes that occur when an individual intentionally causes another person to perform unwanted sexual acts. According to state laws, registrable sex crimes in the state include;

  • Kidnapping (if the victim is less than 18 years old)
  • Statutory rape
  • Sexual battery
  • Enticing a child for prostitution or marriage
  • Touching a minor or a vulnerable adult for lustful reasons
  • Distribution of sexually oriented material to minors;
  • Internet luring of minors to engage in sexual conduct
  • Child exploitation
  • Sexual relations with stepchild, adopted child, or child of a cohabiting partner.
  • Unnatural or unlawful intercourse
  • Fornication between teacher and pupil
  • Sexual abuse of a vulnerable adult
  • Sexual enslavement of a minor
  • Filming another individual without permission where there is an expectation of privacy

What are the Different Types of Sex Offenses?  

Sex offenses in Mississippi are either forcible or non-forcible, and they are punishable by law. Forcible offenses are usually the most severe sex crimes in the state because they are associated with criminal rape and sexual assault. The following forcible sex offenses are described in Chapter 97 of the Mississippi codes as crimes against humanity and the state:

  • Rape; Drugging 

Commonly, an offender is accused of rape when forcible sexual intercourse with another person occurs. However, rape also occurs when there is non-consensual and non-forcible intercourse with another individual. This could happen when the perpetrator administers any substance that may hinder adequate movement or cause weakness to the victim’s mind and body, thereby preventing resistance. This crime is punishable by life imprisonment in the state prison.

  • Rape; Assault with Intent to Ravish

An offender commits this crime when sexual assault occurs with the intent to rape any female of previously chaste character. Under state laws, this crime is punishable by imprisonment for life.

  • Sexual Battery 

An offender is guilty of sexual battery if sexual penetration occurs with an unconsenting individual or a vulnerable individual who is legally unable to consent to the act. According to law, “vulnerable” individuals include:

  • Mentally defective or incapacitated persons
  • Physically helpless individuals
  • Minors between the ages of 14 and 16
  • Children under 14 years old.

Additionally, Mississippi law especially punishes the sexual battery of vulnerable individuals by people in a position of trust or authority over them. Such persons in a position of authority can include teachers, physicians, parents, guardians, priests, etc. 

In Mississippi, sexual battery is penalized differently based on the circumstances surrounding the crime, the number of times the perpetrator has committed the crime, and the difference between the offender and victim's ages. 

Typically, sexual battery in Mississippi is punishable by incarceration in state prison for up to 40 years, and/or a fine of up to $10,000.

  • Statutory Rape 

It occurs when an individual 17 years of age or older has sexual intercourse with a child or victim under 16 years of age. In this case, the victim is not the offender’s spouse, and the perpetrator is about 2-3 years older than the victim.

In Mississippi, penalties for statutory rape generally range from the imprisonment of about 5-30 years and/or fines of about $5,000- $10,000. However, the penalty could be more severe depending on the crime's details, such as the victim’s age, and if it's a first or subsequent offense. For a subsequent offense, the offender may receive up to 40 years imprisonment for each subsequent offense, but not less than 20. 

In cases where the offender administers substances that impair the victim’s motor function and renders them unable to resist, the offender receives imprisonment for life.

  • "Unnatural Intercourse," 

Mississippi defines unnatural intercourse as “the detestable and abominable crime against nature committed with mankind or a beast.” It constitutes all forms of sexual behavior that are indecent and deemed abnormal. These crimes are punishable by imprisonment of up to ten years imprisonment. 

  • Non-forcible Sex Offenses 

In Mississippi, non-forcible sex offenses constitute a group of crimes against public morals and decency. They may include indecent exposure, dissemination of obscene materials, and unlawful sexual devices. Such crimes are considered misdemeanors punishable by up to six months in county jail and/or a fine of up to $10,000.

Sex Offender Levels of Classification in Mississippi  

According to Title 45 of the Mississippi Revised Statutes, sex offenders are classified into three tiers based on the severity of their crimes and how long they will be required to fulfill their mandatory registration in the state sex offender registry. They include;

  • Tier 1
  • Tier 2 
  • Tier 3

Tier 1 offenders must remain registered sex offenders in the state for at least 15 years. To be classified as a tier 1 offender, an individual must have disseminated or attempted to distribute sexually oriented materials to minors. They are not considered high-risk offenders; hence, after the 15 years requirement, they may petition the court to be relieved of the obligation to register.

Tier 2 offenders are required by law to register for at least twenty-five (25) years. They must have committed any of the following offenses;

  • Child exploitation
  • Unnatural intercourse
  • Filming  or photographing another individual without permission 
  • Sexual activity between law enforcement or correctional personnel and inmates
  • Obscene electronic communications or interactions
  • Fondling by individuals in a position of trust or authority 

They may petition the court to be relieved of the duty to register after the required 25 years have been completed. 

Tier 3 sex offenders are the state's high-risk offenders. They are required to register as sex offenders throughout their lifetime and are unable to petition the court for relief from the obligation to register. Tier 3 offenders are usually convicted of forcible sex offenses such as violation of anti-human trafficking laws, capital murder with sexual intent, kidnapping minors, etc.

How Do I Find A Sex Offender Near Me in Mississippi? 

In Mississippi, sex offender information is usually collected and compiled locally by criminal justice agencies. As a result, sex offender information can be retrieved from the local sheriff’s office, local police stations, and the Mississippi Department of Public Safety (DPS). Interested persons can search the sex offender registry maintained by the DPS by name or geographical location. Also, inquirers can also obtain information on sex offenders by searching the National Sex Offender Public Website (NSOPW). 

Mississippi Sex Offender Registry  

The Mississippi sex offender registry lists all convicted and registered sex offenders in the state. According to federal law, the Mississippi sex offender database is maintained by the Mississippi Department of Public Safety. The department locally compiles the information on the site from local criminal justice agencies.

Due to the importance of the registry’s information, the department ensures to update the information regularly for accuracy. To achieve this feat, registered sex offenders in the state are required by law to update their information periodically, especially when they make changes to their residential and employment locations. This allows parents and others to locate the offenders close to them.

The registry provides basic locational and identification information on sex offenders. It details their current addresses, physical appearance, and criminal history. Users may search the database using the sex offender’s full name (first and last name), address, zipcode, or the provided map application to determine the registrants' specific locations.

According to the requirements stated in Title 45 and Chapter 33 of the Mississippi codes, the registry contains the information of all individuals who have been convicted of any sex offense in the state except offenders under 14 years old.

With the information provided, the registry can provide users with the following information:

  • Offender’s full name and aliases
  • Residential address
  • Address of employment
  • Details of the crime of conviction
  • Date of birth
  • Physical descriptors such as age, race, sex, height, weight, and hair and eye colors, and other identifying factors
  • Photograph
  • Offender’s registration status
  • Online identity information such as social media username registered or created by a registrant

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 person resides in or was accused in. 

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

What are the Sex Offender Restrictions in Mississippi?

Like many other states in the United States, Mississippi enforces many restrictions on convicted sex offenders. In addition to the mandatory registration in the state’s sex offender registry, the state places residency restrictions on sex offenders. They are prohibited from residing within 3000 feet of any property with a school or childcare facility and other recreational facilities frequented by persons below 18 years. 

Although there are clearly stated residency and work restrictions on sex offenders, the law does not stop sex offenders from running businesses that cater to minors. To ensure minors' safety and also facilitate sex offenders' rehabilitation, the Missippi legislature signed a bill that creates a balance. It states that convicted sex offenders cannot work with children in any capacity without notifying their parents. 

Finally, Senate Bill 2009 stipulates that convicted offenders must not contact victims in their case by any means. They must also not be found near a victim’s home, school, or work, especially when they are present.

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