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Can my criminal record be expunged?

Expungement is the legal process of clearing an arrest or conviction from a person's criminal record. The record is not completely erased, but rather remains accessible to certain government agencies. In certain situations, an expunged criminal conviction may still be considered proof of a prior conviction during sentencing for future crimes or in immigration/deportation proceedings. It may also still be considered a prior offense in the event of future arrest. However, once expungement is complete, generally the person arrested or convicted is no longer required to divulge their criminal record to employers, loan officers, educational institutions or other companies.

Therefore, an expungement may help those with prior arrests or convictions to get a job, gain admittance into an academic institution, obtain a professional license or own a firearm. However, not everyone is eligible for expungement. Eligibility depends on several factors including the nature of the charge or crime, the amount of time that has passed since the arrest or conviction, and the state in which the arrest or conviction occurred. Some states do not allow for expungement while others allow for expungement only in certain situations.

Expungement laws in Mississippi are complex. A Mississippi criminal record of an arrest may be expunged if an arrest did not result in a formal charge or if the charge was dismissed. Convictions may be expunged depending on the charge and the criminal history of the convicted person. Certain juvenile medical or mental health examination records as well as records of certain sex offenses may not be expunged.

The process typically involves filling out an application and submitting paperwork for a judge to review.

The long-term consequences of an arrest or conviction may influence one's ability to advance or succeed in life. Expungement may be an opportunity for a fresh start. An experienced criminal defense attorney may be able to help determine eligibility for expungement and navigate Mississippi's complex expungement laws when filing a request.

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Christopher G. Holt Attorney at Law
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