In Mississippi, there are harsh penalties for driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol. As well as risking your life and the lives of other people, you may face driver’s license revocations, jail time, and fines. Plus, a DUI can create a barrier to your life goals, such as getting a job, a loan, or into college. However, it is possible for a DUI to be expunged – depending on a variety of factors.
What is Expungement?
An expungement is a court process where a conviction is sealed from state and federal criminal records or erased in the eye of the law. An expungement has the effect of making the crime and conviction appear as though it never happened.
There are many misconceptions about expungement. For instance, expunged criminal records might not be available to the public, but they will always be available to law enforcement agencies, government bodies, and the courts.
Another misconception is that expungements are not available for charges and arrests. They only come into play when a person has been found guilty and has been convicted of a crime.
Every state has different expungement laws and their availability depends on several factors, including:
- Type of crime committed.
- Class of crime committed (e.g. felony or misdemeanor).
- The sentence is given.
DUI Expungements in Mississippi
DUI expungements were signed into Mississippian law in 2014 and there are two important things you need to know.
Firstly, expungements in this state cannot occur until five years after you complete all of the requirements, terms, and conditions set by the court for the conviction. If you wait too long, you can eliminate your rights to expunge your record. Secondly, if you’re seeking to obtain a Mississippi DUI expungement, you must meet six vital conditions.
The conditions for expungement in Mississippi are:
- You are a first-time offender. Any previous convictions or pending charges can ruin your chances of obtaining an expungement.
- You did not refuse a blood, breath, or urine test. Otherwise, you are unlikely to qualify for an expungement.
- Your blood alcohol concentration was below 0.16 percent if tested. DUIs are given if your blood alcohol concentration is at least 0.08 percent, so if it’s more than double this legal limit (0.16 percent), you’re unlikely to get your expungement.
- At the time of the arrest, you were not the holder of a commercial driver’s license or a commercial learner’s permit. If you possessed either of these when you received the DUI, you will not qualify for expungement in Mississippi.
- After your conviction, you completed all of the requirements of the sentence set by the court. This might include attending and completing the Mississippi Alcohol, Safety Education Program (MASEP), paying all of the fines, completing probation, and serving jail time.
- You can show the court why your conviction should be expunged. The court will not grant expungement for the sake of it. You need to show them why they should restore you to the legal position you held before your conviction.
If you meet these conditions, you are likely to be able to obtain an expungement. However, it’s still recommended that you hire a DUI attorney when you are first charged to represent you. This can greatly help your expungement case.
How Much Does an Expungement Cost?
If you’re looking for your DUI conviction to be expunged, your application must be submitted with a transaction fee. This may cost anywhere from $100.00 to $400.00 plus an attorney’s fee.
How Long Does it Take for the Expungement to be Granted?
Courts require DUI expungement applicants to allow a reasonable length of time to elapse before they consider the application. The time it takes for the application to process depends on the jurisdiction and the individual case.
Generally, expungements for misdemeanor cases can take between two to six weeks to be processed. Felony cases can take between four and six weeks.
If your case has been granted approval for an expungement, your DUI driving record will be updated in approximately two days. If the FBI or other federal law enforcement agencies are involved, it can take as long as 60 days.
What if I Don’t Meet the Mississippi DUI Expungement Conditions?
If your case doesn’t meet the conditions of DUI expungement, it’s likely that the courts will reject your application. In particular, if you’re not a first-time offender (you have previous convictions and/or pending charges), you will not be granted an expungement – even if you’ve met the other five conditions.
Unfortunately, this is a strict rule in Mississippi.
If this is the case, you should seek legal advice from a trained professional. It’s important that you never attempt any legal process alone.
At Coxwell & Associates, our expert team of attorneys is experienced in handling DUI cases.
We understand that DUI car accidents can have a serious impact on your life, physically, mentally, and financially. From asking questions about your rights to expungement to reviewing state laws, we can take the stress off your shoulders and can help you with your case.
We offer free consultations so get in touch today.
Disclaimer: This blog is intended for general information purposes only, and is not a substitute for legal advice. Anyone with a legal problem should consult a lawyer immediately.