Mississippi Court Records
What Are Traffic Violations And Infractions In Mississippi?
Civil or criminal acts that break the traffic laws in Mississippi are referred to as traffic violations and infractions. In the judiciary, the Municipal Courts handle violations of traffic laws, and the Justice Courts have jurisdiction over traffic offenses that take place in areas outside of municipalities. When the offense is a traffic violation, it can either be a felony or a misdemeanor. Individuals charged with misdemeanors or felonies may be fined or jailed, and also subject to other punishments such as loss of driver privileges and community service. In the state, a traffic offense is an infraction when it is a non-criminal or civil violation such as red-light running or failure to wear a seatbelt. Parties ticketed for traffic infractions are able to settle their charges by fine only and without a court appearance, unless they are contesting the charges.
What Are Felony Traffic Violations In Mississippi?
Mississippi felony traffic violations refer to criminal acts that violate the state’s rules of the road and require offenders to appear in court on a scheduled date to answer for the charges. A person charged with a felony violation is awarded rights under Title 99: Criminal Procedure of the Mississippi Code 1972 Annotated and sentenced as outlined in Miss. Code Ann. §63–21–73. The law penalizes individuals who commit criminal traffic offenses with incarceration and stiff fines. All penalties are outlined in the criminal or traffic laws of the state and considered by a judge according to the seriousness of the crime and whether it is the individual’s first, second, third, or repeat offense. There are instances when an offender may incur higher fines and additional terms of imprisonment than authorized under §63–21–73. Such instances include when it is a repeat offense or subsequent conviction, and when the offense resulted in the death or permanent disability/disfigurement of another person. Depending on the violation, additional penalties such as license suspensions or revocations may be considered under Miss. Code Ann. § 63–1–51.
Examples Of Felony Traffic Violations In Mississippi?
The following traffic offenses are examples of felony traffic violations in Mississippi:
- Accidents resulting in personal injury, death, or permanent disfigurement of another party
- Vehicular manslaughter
- Vehicular homicide
- Aggravated DUIs
- Driving under the influence (3rd, 4th, and subsequent convictions), Racing on highway (3rd and subsequent convictions), and other repeat misdemeanor offenses
What Are Traffic Misdemeanors In Mississippi?
Similar to felony traffic violations, traffic misdemeanors are also criminal offenses that involve damage to property or harm of an individual (or the threat of it) and are penalized with fines and jail time. The dissimilarity between the two types of traffic offenses is in the length of prison terms and fines. While felonies have longer sentences and substantial fines, misdemeanors have shorter sentences and lesser fines, as directed by Miss. Code Ann. § 63–21–71.
Under this law, a misdemeanor is punished with a fine, not above $500, or jail time not above six months, or both. However, this may vary for certain convictions, including offenses such as drag racing on public roads for which the fine is above $500 but not more than $1,000, and repeat/subsequent offenses.
- First conviction: A fine, not above $100, or imprisonment not more than ten days, or both
- A second conviction within a year of the first: A fine, not above $200, or imprisonment not more than 20 days, or both
- Third or subsequent conviction within a year of a first conviction: A fine, not above $500, or imprisonment not more than six months, or both
Examples Of Traffic Misdemeanors In Mississippi
Traffic offenses that are considered as misdemeanors in Mississippi include:
- Drag racing on public roads
- Reckless driving
- Racing on highways
- Damage of road construction equipment
- Hit and run
- Driving without a valid license
- Driving while license suspended or revoked
- Meeting or overtaking a school bus.
What Constitutes A Traffic Infraction In Mississippi?
A traffic infraction is an offense that is not legally defined as a crime and in which the maximum penalty is a fine imposed by the courts. By law, this offense type is minor, and as such, offenders are not jailed like in misdemeanor or felony offenses. Offenders may still lose their driving privileges and have their licenses suspended or revoked. However, Mississippi does not use a points system, so offenders will not have demerit points assigned to their licenses. These types of offenses include parking, non-moving, and moving violations, as listed below.
Traffic infractions in Mississippi include:
- Seatbelt violations
- Careless driving
- Failure to signal
- Illegal parking
- Running a red light
- Right-of-way violations
- Unlawful turns or U-turns
How Does A Traffic Ticket Work In Mississippi?
Upon issuance of a traffic ticket, an individual may choose to pay the ticket before the court date, if it is for an infraction, or be required to make an initial appearance in the court to enter a guilty or not guilty plea, if it is a felony or misdemeanor.
An individual has the option of contesting an infraction to challenge the alleged charges. This may be done by entering a not guilty plea. A charged party who wants to enter this plea may do so in-person at the court or by mailing the ticket to the court with the applicable box properly checked. Usually, the courts provide more information and instructions on entering this plea on their websites. Instructions are also available on the traffic ticket. After a ticket is contested, the party is required to appear in court at a scheduled date to protest the charges before a judge.
In Mississippi, tickets can be paid in-person, by mail, or online. Although there is no uniform system to make online payments, in most cases, Mississippi Justice and Municipal courts provide online payment platforms on their internet sites. Usually, information required to search and pay for tickets includes:
- Citation number
- Case number
- Date of birth
- Driver’s license number
- Vehicle information (plate number and registration state)
- Social security number
- The offender’s name.
Fines can be paid online with a debit or credit card (Master Card, Discover, American Express, or Visa), while cash may be used for in-person payments and money orders for mail payments. Interested parties may also lookup payment instructions on the courts’ websites. It should be noted that in paying a ticket, an individual admits guilt for an offense. As such, depending on the offense, the offender may obtain additional penalties from the Mississippi Department of Public Safety (DPS).
In the state, adults may attend driving school to keep traffic violations off their driving records, and minors may do the same to get their tickets dismissed. However, this option is only available to eligible minors and adults. Parties who are qualified for a driving school in the state are as follows:
- Individuals who have valid licenses, excluding persons who hold commercial driver licenses or learner’s permits
- Adults with no moving violation convictions in the past three years
- Individuals under 21 years of age who have received a moving violation but have never been ticketed
- Minors with license suspensions not below 30 days and not above 90 days
- Parties who pay the full ticket fine, an additional $10 fee, and the class costs
- Parties who complete the 4-hour traffic safety class
Are Driving Records Public In Mississippi?
Driving records, also known as Motor Vehicle Records (MVR), contain both unique and sensitive information of a driver and, as such, are confidential records in Mississippi. These records are maintained by the Mississippi Department of Public Safety. Motorists may request their records from the Mississippi DPS using online, mail, or physical request services provided by the agency. Other third parties may obtain driving records through the DPS but are required to have the consent of the subject of the record. Third parties include but are not limited to, government agencies (federal/state), courts, justice agencies, employers, insurance companies, toll operators, and persons notifying vehicle owners of tows and impoundments.
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 Find Driving Records In Mississippi?
A Mississippi driving record has information on past traffic violations, convictions, collisions (accidents), and the status of a driver’s license (all restrictions, cancellations, and suspensions). The Mississippi Department of Public Safety provides certified and non-certified driving records to eligible parties. Individuals requesting their records may use the online service to order uncertified records, and the mail and in-person services to order certified copies. Third parties may request driving records via mail or in-person as the online platform is only available to subjects of the records.
To purchase an uncertified record online, a requester must have a Mississippi driver’s license in order to complete the required purchase details and get results from the system. These details include:
- License number
- Last four digits of a social security number (SSN)
- The requester’s last, first, and middle name, as it appears on the driver’s license, as well as the date of birth
There is an $11 fee charged per record. This fee is payable using a credit or debit card (Visa, Mastercard, Discover, or American Express). There is a convenience fee of $1.26 assessed for every transaction. Individuals who want to make copies are advised to plug in a printer while requesting as the online system only provides a one-time view of the record and does not save results.
To obtain a certified record, parties requesting their records may use the mail or online services. Mail requests may be made by sending a completed Consent to Release Record (Form DPPA–2), self-addressed stamped envelope, and a certified cashier’s check of $11 to the mail address listed on the form. Individuals requesting another person’s record may use the Driver Records Request (Form DPPA–3) instead. In-person requests may be made with the same forms and fee, minus the self-addressed stamped envelope. The agency may also provide alternative methods to pay the driving records fee.
For third parties, including agencies, businesses, companies, and other service providers, a comprehensive list of authorized parties is available on the DPPA–3 form. Qualified parties may use this form to make record requests to the mail address typed on the form, or make in-person purchases at walk-in locations in Batesville, Jackson, and Hattiesburg.
Can Traffic Violations And Infractions Be Expunged Or Sealed In Mississippi?
Mississippi statutes do not explicitly permit the expunction or sealing of traffic violations in which an offender was found guilty of an offense. This law, given by Miss. Code Ann. §99–19–71(1) allows the expungement of first convictions for misdemeanors except for traffic violations. In the case of felonies, according to the law, felony traffic violation may be eligible for expunction if the offender does not hold a commercial license or permit, has served the complete sentence for the offense and paid all fines, fees, and court costs. Under the law, an expunction may occur only once, and may only be granted five years after completion of the offender’s full sentence. However, under §99–19–7 (2), certain felonies, including a third, fourth, and subsequent DUI offense, are not expugnable. In Mississippi, there are no expungement statutes for traffic infractions as these offenses are not criminal.