Mississippi Court Records
What Are Mississippi Traffic Court Records?
Mississippi traffic court records consist of the legal documents and case files generated during the hearing of a traffic violation in the state of Mississippi. They include all records from the prosecution (and defense) of traffic violations in the state of Mississippi.
Are Mississippi Traffic Court Records Public Records?
Mississippi traffic court records are classified as public records, which makes them accessible to the general public, in compliance with the public access to information law. The only exception to this is instances when a particular record has been restricted by a judge or the law.
Getting a Traffic Ticket in Mississippi
In Mississippi, a Uniform Traffic Ticket is issued to cite an offender for traffic violations. The citation is issued by a law enforcement officer who, being duly sworn, does depose under oath that these were their observations of the alleged incident. The ticket will be filled in by the officer and it will contain the location (county or district) where the incident occurred with day, time and date. The officer will fill in the defendant’s full name, physical address, date of birth and other applicable bio-data. The defendant’s driver’s license details, as well as relevant information about the vehicle involved in the incident, will be included in the citation. The offense which is being cited for will be checked or listed on the ticket, along with the statute section code. If the defendant is being cited for more than one offense, then multiple tickets will be used. The citation includes a “Notice to appear in court or contact the court clerk,” which details the address of the court with jurisdiction over the violation and a date and time by which the offender should respond to the ticket either by contacting the court clerk’s office or appearing in designated court. The defendant will be asked to sign the ticket. The officer will also sign the ticket, and include agency, unit and badge ID, before issuing a copy to the defendant.
Each county in Mississippi handles its traffic citations separately, so fines, assessments, and court fees will vary by violation and court. Fines are not listed on the ticket and exact fine amounts are obtained by contacting the traffic court listed on the ticket. Ticket costs will also include assessment fees, which are additional payments to the courts for all traffic violations. They tend to vary according to the violation and court.
Mississippi does not operate a “points-based” system for driving records. However, convictions for moving traffic violations are reported to the Mississippi Department of Public Safety (DPS) and are noted on the driving record of the violator. Accumulating several traffic violations on a record will eventually lead to a suspension or revocation of the driver’s license. Offenders who are deemed as “Habitual” will have their licenses suspended, or if the offense involved property damage, bodily injury or death, while offenses such as DUIs come with an automatic license revocation for 1 year.
Traffic offenses are typically categorized as moving or non-moving violations. Moving violations are when traffic laws are broken by a vehicle, while the vehicle is in motion. Non-moving violations relate to parking violations or faulty/missing equipment. Non-moving violations can occur in moving vehicles, but these types of violations are not reported to the Mississippi DPS and a conviction will not be noted on the driver’s record.
What to Do When You Get a Traffic Ticket in Mississippi?
Upon receiving a traffic ticket in Mississippi, the offender can either
- Pay the traffic ticket
- Contest the Ticket
Opting to pay the ticket is viewed as a Guilty plea by the court. The defendant will need to pay off the ticket on or before the court appearance date. Convictions for traffic violations are reported to the Mississippi Department of Public Safety (DPS) and will appear on the driver’s record. To pay off the ticket, the defendant will need to contact the court clerk’s office of the designated court to obtain the exact fine amount and other assessments and charges. Payments can be made:
- Online- Use the designated municipal or county court website (if applicable). Each court handles traffic matters separately, so payment must be made to the court designated in the citation. Online payments will require the citation number and the use of a major credit or debit card. It is also possible to obtain the total accruable fine amount online.
- Mail- A copy of the citation, along with a money order or cashier check for the total fine amount, should be mailed to the office of the clerk of the designated court. The defendant must have previously contacted the court to obtain the total fine amount due.
- In-Person- Payment can be made in person at the office of the clerk of the designated court. Prior contact will have to be made with the clerk’s office to obtain all accruable fines and charges.
Payment instructions can be found on the ticket or contact the court handling the case for more details.
Opting to contest the ticket is viewed as a “Not Guilty plea” by the court and an assertion of the right to trial by the defendant. To do this, the defendant must appear in court on the designated appearance date for an arraignment, where the plea will be entered. The ticket will contain information on the initial court date, location and other relevant information on contesting the ticket. At the arraignment, the defendant will enter the Not Guilty plea and the date will set for the trial. The defendant might be able to meet with the prosecutor to work out a plea bargain.
However, if this is not possible, the case will move to trial. At the trial, both parties will present their cases and at the end of the trial, the judicial officer in charge will enter a ruling of Guilty or Not Guilty. If a Guilty ruling is entered, the defendant will have been convicted on the charges and will have to pay all assessed fines, charges, and other fees. The conviction will be reported to the Mississippi DPS and will appear on the defendant’s driving record (which can lead to a license suspension, based on driving history). If a ruling of Not Guilty is entered, then all charges will be dismissed and no fines, assessments or additional costs will be levied against the defendant. There will be no violations recorded against the defendant. Failure to appear or missing any court date may result in additional fines, license suspension or even an arrest warrant being issued against the defaulter.
How Do I Find Mississippi Traffic Court Records?
Mississippi traffic court records can be found online, on the website of the requisite court where the records are located. If physical records are required, the requesting party must visit the office of the court and submit an application. Fees may be applicable if copies are required and must be paid before receiving the records.
Additionally, publicly available records are accessible from some third-party websites. These websites offer the benefit of not being limited by geographical record availability and can often serve as a starting point when researching a specific or multiple records. To find a record using the search engines on these sites, interested parties must provide:
- The name of someone involved providing it is a not a juvenile
- The assumed location of the record in question such as a city, county, or state name
Third-party sites are not government-sponsored websites, and record availability may differ from official channels.
What information is required to obtain Mississippi Traffic Court Records?
Persons requesting access to Mississippi traffic court records must provide necessary information about the requested record, including full name and case number. If the request is made by a third party, the interested person will be required to provide a state-approved and valid identification for verification and make payment of all applicable court fees.
Are all Traffic Violations handled the same way in Mississippi?
In Mississippi, the processes for handling traffic violations and infractions are the same regardless of the nature of the violation. Fines and penalties will differ from county to county and these can be obtained from the appropriate court.
Can Mississippi Traffic Records be sealed or expunged?
Pursuant to the Mississippi Code Annotated section 99–19–71 (1) a conviction for a traffic ticket cannot be expunged. However, if the case was dropped or dismissed, a petition can be filed for expungement of the record under the Mississippi Code Annotated 99–15–123. It may be possible to file for the expungement of a DUI- First Offense, provided 5-years have passed since the completion of the sentence and other conditions are met.
How does one end up in a Mississippi Traffic court?
Drivers may appear in a Mississippi state traffic court if upon being cited for a traffic offense by a law enforcement officer, the nature of the violation or the determination of the officer indicates that a court appearance will be required to respond to the citation. Motorists may also end up in traffic court if the defendant, upon receiving the ticket, decides to contest the ticket and plead “Not Guilty to the charges.”
Which Courts in Mississippi have jurisdiction to hear traffic violation matters?
In Mississippi, traffic violation matters can be heard by the Municipal Court, Justice Court or County Court that have jurisdiction over the area where the ticket was issued. Municipal courts have jurisdiction over misdemeanor crimes, municipal ordinances, and city traffic violations. Justice or County Courts have jurisdiction of traffic offenses that occur outside of a municipality.