Are Criminal Records Public in Mississippi?
Yes, criminal records are publicly available in Mississippi, per the Mississippi Public Records Act. While local law enforcement agencies have the primary task of generating and managing crime-related data and related reports and records, the Mississippi Department of Public Safety maintains a central repository of criminal history information in the state. This central repository is accessible to interested requesters through the Bureau of Investigation. The Bureau organizes state public criminal records in online record depositories and makes them available to the public in the form of a Criminal Background Report.
Criminal records, considered public in the United States, are made available through some third-party aggregate sites. Searching with third-party websites is often easier as the information is not limited to geographic record availability. Information found on third-party websites can serve as a jumping off point for parties searching for a specific record or multiple records. Typically, requesters must provide the following information to gain access to these records:
- The record subject’s name, unless the subject is a juvenile.
- The record subjects’ last known location, including cities, counties, and states.
Third-party websites offer these search services, but they are not government sponsored. Availability of records may vary.
What is Considered a Criminal Record in Mississippi?
Mississippi criminal records are official documents pertaining to the criminal activity of a person within the jurisdiction of the state. These records, commonly known as rap sheets, detail all misdemeanor and felony crimes of a subject in Mississippi as well as their arrests, indictments, and conviction information. This information is assembled from various local, county, and state sources, including Mississippi law enforcement offices, trial and appeal courts, and Mississippi correctional institutions or detention centers.
What Shows Up on a Criminal Record in Mississippi?
Mississippi criminal records generally comprise the following:
- The personal information of the subject: their full name, birth date, nationality/ethnicity, and gender
- A mug shot and unique physical features of the subject
- A full set of fingerprints
- Criminal offenses and indictments
- Details of past and most recent warrants, arrest history, convictions, and dispositions
Criminal records are one of several police records compiled during criminal investigations and police activities in Mississippi. Others include arrest records, arrest warrants, incident reports, and logs of police activities. All of these records are typically available to public requesters.
How to Obtain Criminal Records in Mississippi?
The Mississippi Department of Public Safety’s Bureau of Investigations allows individuals to obtain their criminal records or perform a criminal record search. To do this, applicants must complete an Authorization to Release Background Info form, attach the $32 fee, and submit the form to the address below:
MS Bureau of Investigation
ATTN: CIC/Background Checks
3891 Highway 468 West
Pearl, MS 39208
The public can also obtain on-demand court records through the Mississippi Electronic Courts System (MEC). This state clerk of courts backs this system and allows anyone to subscribe and access court records - including criminal cases. Interested parties must pay a $10 annual registration fee and $.20 per page to view documents. Individuals that wish to initiate a free public criminal record check may go through third-party websites and organizations.
Are Arrest Records Public in Mississippi?
Yes, Mississippi arrest records are public, per the Mississippi Public Records Act. Local law enforcement typically generates arrest records whenever they detain a suspect in relation to a crime. Interested persons may query their local police station or sheriff’s office to obtain public arrest records. Initiating an arrest search typically comes at a low price - the cost of copying. Individuals who wish to obtain free arrest records may query third-party websites.
What is Considered an Arrest Record in Mississippi?
Mississippi arrest records are official documents featuring information regarding the apprehension and detention of a person in the state following their alleged involvement in criminal activity. These police records may also include information regarding any charges or indictments that result from the arrest. However, arrest records on their own do not constitute proof of criminal activity but merely suggest that the arrestee was detained and questioned regarding a crime.
Mississippi public arrest records typically include the following:
- Details of the alleged criminal offense
- The personal data of the subject - their name, birthdate, etc.
- The date, time, and place of the arrest
- The case status
- The name of the arresting officer
- The address of the holding facility or detention center.
Mississippi Arrest Warrants
Mississippi arrest warrants court-issued orders authorizing the arrest and/or detention of a person within the jurisdiction of the state. Mississippi warrants are typically issued by judges or magistrates and requested by the district attorney for local or state law enforcement agencies. Warrants may also provide legal authorization for searches and confiscation of private property (of the arrestee).
Arrest warrants typically indicate the alleged criminal offense as well as a designated validity period. Subsequent to the expiry of an arrest warrant, law enforcement agencies may be issued a bench warrant for the same individual. In the absence of a warrant, Mississippi state law allows law enforcement agents to arrest any individual in a select few instances such as committing a felony or breaching the peace. Officers who witness a crime may also arrest the person(s) involved without a warrant.
Mississippi does not have a central page where the public can initiate a warrant search. Interested persons can find warrants by visiting county websites where sheriffs may post a wanted list. Alternatively, anyone can visit the US Marshall’s Warrant Information system to initiate an active warrant search.
How to Lookup Mississippi Inmate Records
Mississippi inmate records refer to data pertaining to the incarceration status of a person, and facility or prisoner-related information which is typically maintained by correctional institutions across the state. Like most states, Mississippi's Department of Corrections operates an inmate database that contains information like the inmate’s full name or alias, birthdate, nationality, gender, and relevant data, inmates criminal indictments, incarceration date, expected release date, and mugshot. Interested persons can access Mississippi jail records online by conducting searches using the tools available on the database. An interested person can carry out a Mississippi inmate search using the full name or unique ID of an inmate. However, information unavailable online may be obtained by querying the facility where the prisoner is housed. Anyone performing an MDOC inmate search can also find correctional facilities within the state’s jurisdiction as well as their locations, contact information, and housing capacity.
How Do I Find Sex Offenders in Mississippi?
The Mississippi sex offender registry provides information regarding persons who have been convicted of sex-related crimes in Mississippi. These are primarily known as sex offender registries and they are managed by law enforcement agencies in various jurisdictions of the state of Mississippi. The registries list the full name and aliases of offenders as well as their locations, home/work addresses, personal identifiers, criminal histories, and compliance status.
While most listings are compiled by local law enforcement agents, the Mississippi Department of Public Safety manages the Mississippi Sex Offender Registry which houses information regarding statewide offenders. Under Mississippi’s sex offender registration law, offenders must register with law enforcement in every jurisdiction they reside in. Thus, sex offenders who move out of state will be listed on the national offender registry.
Understanding DUI Laws in Mississippi
A DUI in Mississippi is one of the states most severe traffic violations. A citizen commits an DUI when they operate a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or other opiates. The state frowns heavily on such drivers and mandates police officers to stop any vehicle whose driver appears impaired.
Police officers subject drunk drivers to physical and chemical sobriety tests. If the suspect’s blood alcohol content (BAC) is above 0.08%, the officers will arrest them for drunk driving. The penalties for driving under the influence in Mississippi range from 48 hours to five years in prison, and $250 - $5000 in fines. Drunk drivers may also lose their licenses for a period of three months to ten years.
Mississippi Misdemeanors Laws: Offenses and Penalties
Mississippi misdemeanors are criminal offenses of mid-level severity being that they are less serious than felonies but even more so than infractions. They are non-indictable crimes with penalties that usually don’t exceed one year in prison or fines of more than $10,000. Unlike most states, Mississippi does not categorize misdemeanors based on their severity. Ultimately, the penalties given for most misdemeanors will depend on the severity of the crime, its impact on others, and the criminal history of the offender. Thus, a person convicted of a misdemeanor in Mississippi may be sentenced to more than one year of incarceration, depending on the crime. Misdemeanor crimes in Mississippi include:
- Simple assault
- Drug possession
- Underage drinking
- Resisting arrest
- Theft of below $500 including shoplifting
- Battery (simple)
- First time DUI
- Noise complaints/disturbing the peace
- May include public nudity
Mississippi Felony Laws: Offenses and Penalties
A felony offense in the state of Mississippi refers to a serious crime that is punishable by fines exceeding $10,000, more than one year in prison, or the death penalty. Since the state does not categorize crimes based on their severity, the penalties for felonies are determined by Mississippi’s criminal statutes. Essentially, the Mississippi criminal statutes indicate the penalties for most felonies committed within its jurisdiction. However, the final judgment might be impacted by the criminal history of the individual and the damage caused. Below are some felonies and their possible penalties:
- Capital murder/murder: The death penalty, life in prison, and without parole
- Manslaughter: Life in prison
- Forms of sexual violence like sexual battery: 30 years in prison and/or a fine of $10,000 or more
- Robbery: 15 years
- Certain forms of drug possession: Up to 4 years in prison and a fine.
Where to Find Parole Information in Mississippi
Mississippi Parole records are official documents that detail information regarding the release of an inmate prior to completion of their maximum sentence. This is typically following the prisoner’s agreement to conditions imposed by the Mississippi Parole Board which is tasked with determining a prisoner’s eligibility for parole based on their criminal history and behavior while in custody. All relevant information regarding parole-related proceedings in the state of Mississippi can be found on the Mississippi Department of Corrections Parole page on which members of the public may view the eligibility requirements of the process and conduct parolee searches. Upon being granted parole, the board may state as a condition of parole that the prisoner pays a designated monthly supervision fee alongside a number of other conditions. It is at the board’s discretion to impose any conditions of parole it seems right to make sure the best interests of the prisoner and the citizens of Mississippi are served.
Are Probation Records Public in Mississippi?
Mississippi probation records are official documents indicating that a person may serve their sentences out of custody as an alternative to prison. As per Mississippi state law, Probation usually has stringent conditions, and the prisoner may remain outside detention provided they follow the probation conditions imposed by the judge and probation officer. Probations are typically issued in proportion to the crime, so the length and nature of probation differ depending on the case and/or the criminal history information of the person(s) involved. Depending on the requirement of the Mississippi board, Probation may be minimally supervised or intensive. Intensive probation is a form of very strict probation that has conditions that vary from state to state but that emphasize punishment and control of the offender within the community.
Are Juvenile Criminal Records Public in Mississippi?
Mississippi juvenile records are official documents pertaining to the criminal activity of persons under legal adult age in the state and/or within its jurisdiction. Unlike adults, juveniles are not considered convicted of a crime. They are found “adjudicated delinquent” upon being declared guilty of a crime by juvenile court and held in Mississippi detention centers. While generally, juvenile records are kept confidential, they are neither erased nor expunged once a person becomes of legal adult age, but in fact, the record remains unless the person petitions to have it expunged. Nonetheless, persons found to be adjudicated delinquent may not respond “yes” if asked whether they have ever been convicted of a crime unless the question specifically asks if they were ever adjudicated delinquent as well. Juvenile criminal records typically indicate the full name and biodata of the juvenile as well as their criminal histories and respective sentences.
What are Criminal Conviction Records in Mississippi?
Mississippi conviction records are documents that provide information regarding the indictment, plea, and judgment/sentence of a person with regard to an alleged crime. This document essentially details relevant information regarding the alleged crime as well as the final judgment delivered. It also includes details of adjudications, discharges, probation, fines, and paroles issued subsequent to the initial judgment. Criminal convictions are typically rendered by either a jury of peers or a judge in a court of law and often exclude final judgments which were deleted by a pardon, set aside, reversed, or otherwise rendered inoperative.
Mississippi History and Accuracy of Criminal Records
The accuracy of criminal records data largely depends on the recordkeeping and technological capabilities of the jurisdiction where the record was assembled and later digitized. Mississippi criminal records archives usually tend to go back as far as the early 1970s - which is when different institutions began to compile criminal and arrest data into an organized, centralized database, much like we use today. Accuracy was more commonly affected by human error in the past. However, in the 1990s the quality and accuracy of recordkeeping improved exponentially due to the advent of the computer.
How to Find Mississippi Criminal History Records for Free
In Mississippi, criminal history records are available through the Mississippi State Department of Public Safety. The documents are maintained in the computerized Criminal Information Center (CIC), according to Miss. Code Ann. 45-27-5. Criminal history information is also maintained by local law enforcement agencies, including police departments and sheriff’s offices in various Mississippi jurisdictions. To obtain a Mississippi criminal history record for free, interested persons can query the relevant office in person or via email. However, it must be noted that if the requestor requires a copy or duplicate of the record, they would be required to pay the associated fee.
Are Police Records Public in Mississippi?
Yes, police records are public records in Mississippi. According to the Mississippi Freedom of Information Act, selected police record information is made available to the public, provided they do not contain confidential information or are restricted by a court order. A police record typically features information about arrests, mugshots, criminal statistical data, and related details.
How to Obtain Police Records in Mississippi
Mississippi police records can be obtained by submitting a request to the local or state law enforcement agency responsible for maintaining them. All requests must include the details of the subject of the record being requested and any additional information required to facilitate the record search. Additional information and documentation may also be required depending on the type of record being requested and the components of the record.
Are Police Reports Public Records in Mississippi?
Yes, police reports are considered public records in Mississippi and can be requested from the local law enforcement agency in the jurisdiction where the incident occurred. Police reports are formal documents pertaining to a crime or incident; they detail the persons involved, the first responders, the timeline, and any other relevant occurrences.
How to File a Police Report with Mississippi Law Enforcement
Persons who have witnessed a crime or have been victims of a crime may file a police report with the law enforcement agency in the jurisdiction where the incident occurred. Police reports should feature information about the details of the occurrence, including the time, date, and location, as well as the personal information of the filer and any other persons involved.
How to Find Mugshots in Mississippi
Mugshots are typically taken following the arrest and/or incarceration of an individual. Depending on the nature of their offense, these may be published by the arresting agency on their inmate roster and made available to interested members of the public. To find an inmate mugshot in Mississippi, inquirers may visit the website of the arresting agency and search using the name, birth date, and DOC number of the inmate of interest.