Making a Case for Expunction

Posted by James Ferguson | Sep 15, 2020 | 0 Comments

In Mississippi, certain DUI offenders have the opportunity to start on a clean slate. They can “expunge” their DUI conviction if they meet certain conditions. There are many benefits to getting a DUI charge expunged from one's record, including employment, educational, and housing opportunities. However, the qualifications for expungement can be rather demanding. To qualify for expungement in Mississippi, one must submit to chemical testing, must have had a BAC below 0.16, must have not had any other DUI convictions or any DUI charges pending, must have successfully completed all court imposed conditions, must wait five years after successful completion of conditions, and must provide justification why expunction should be granted. Most importantly, they must have not been granted non-adjudication or any prior expungements for DUI.

What Constitutes a First Offense?

Expungement means to destroy or seal a state or federal criminal conviction. The order of expungement directs the court to treat the criminal conviction as if it never occurred, thus removing it from the defendant's record. As stated above, to qualify for expunction, the DUI conviction must be a first time offense. An important question that may arise here is what constitutes “first” for the purposes of an expunction. A defendant who has had a previous DUI expunction does not qualify as a first-timer. Furthermore, no matter how long ago the first conviction was, a defendant who is convicted of another DUI cannot receive the expunction. However, there is an outstanding question as to whether DUIs that occured before the expunction statute went into effect still receive the same treatment.

Chemical Test Required

The chemical test requires that the court's conviction is based on a scientific test to determine intoxication. For the purposes of expunction, a person's Blood Alcohol Concentration must be determined by blood samples, urine testing, or breath analysis. There are two considerations for this requirement we must keep in mind. Firstly, defendants who refuse a chemical test, but end up with a DUI conviction based on other evidence cannot use expunction. Although this appears to be a rare circumstance, field sobriety tests and other circumstantial evidence can become the basis of a DUI conviction. Secondly, given the chemical test requirement, it is wise to opt for a chemical test so that you will have the opportunity to use expunction in the future.

Five Years after Successful Completion of DUI Order

The offender must wait five years after successfully completing the conviction terms before becoming eligible for expunction. Within this period, the offender must stay DUI charge and conviction-free. Unfortunately, habitual drunkards and others who are more prone to recidivism will not meet this requirement. However, the expunction rules are created to reward those who truly do not have a propensity to drink and drive. Therefore, it is fair to conclude that the legal policy of expunction applies to those who are deserving of its relief.

Let Us Help With Your DUI Case
If you qualify for DUI expunction, please call us now. Attorney James Robert Ferguson is a seasoned DUI attorney with experience advising and making applications for expunction. He has defended countless DUI defendants in his many years of experience. Contact us to determine your rights in the matter.

See related blog posts:
Can I Expunge My Mississippi DUI Conviction?
Mississippi DUI Penalties

About the Author

James Ferguson

I was born and raised in Memphis, Tennessee. During college, I studied at East Tennessee State University, where I received a Bachelor's in Criminal Justice, which I then followed up with a Master's in Criminology from the University of Memphis. Before beginning my legal career, I worked as a Project Coordinator at the University of Memphis, where I assisted in training law enforcement officers in the Memphis Model of Crisis Intervention Training. The purpose of the project was to provide officers with the tools to deal with citizens in a state of mental crisis. I then went on to study law at the Mississippi College School of Law in Jackson. During law school, I clerked with Victor W. Carmody, Jr., the lawyer who wrote the book on DUI law in Mississippi. I am currently licensed to practice law in both Tennessee and Mississippi, and spend a majority of my time traveling the highways and biways of Mississippi defending those who have been charged with a DUI.

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