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Mississippi Public Records

How to Request Mississippi Public Records?

The Mississippi Public Records Act serves as a beacon of transparency, ensuring the availability of governmental documents across every level of administration.

This act gives a comprehensive definition of ‘public records’, which encompasses items ranging from books and photographs to tapes and other forms of documentation integral to the functioning of a public entity, regardless of their physical format.

An important feature of this act is its accessibility; every individual has the right to access Mississippi’s public documents without the need to state a specific reason.

Additionally, once these records are accessed, there’s absolute freedom in terms of their usage. As for the response time, the act mandates a default timeline of a single working day for Public Records Act (PRA) requests.

However, it also offers flexibility to departments, allowing them to establish their own response deadlines, which can extend up to fourteen working days. Through this act, Mississippi champions the cause of transparent governance.

Table of Contents

If you wish to access public records in the state of Mississippi it's crucial to be aware of the specific steps involved so that your request can be processed effectively. Below is a step-by-step guide on how to go about it:

Where to Find Public Records in Mississippi

If you’re looking for public records in Mississippi, different departments and agencies maintain various types of records. Here’s a guide to help you find them:

Vital Records (Birth, Death, Marriage, Divorce):

The Mississippi State Department of Vital Records and Statistics holds the primary responsibility for maintaining vital public records within the state. These encompass essential documents such as birth, death, and marriage records. However, if you're looking for divorce records, you'll need to direct your search elsewhere. Divorce documents are not preserved at the state level; instead, they are housed in the local Chancery Clerk's office. So, for access to or information about divorce records, reaching out to the relevant local Chancery Clerk's office would be the best course of action.

Property Records:

In Mississippi, land records like deeds and mortgages are managed by the Chancery Court present in each county. If you're seeking access to these land records, your primary point of contact should be the local county Chancery Court. For those preferring a digital route, these records can also be accessed online via third-party websites that offer such services. Separately, if you're on the lookout for unclaimed properties, these fall under the jurisdiction of the Mississippi State Treasurer. There's a specific website dedicated to this purpose where you can conduct a search. Simply input your name or your business's name to see if there are any unclaimed properties linked to you.

Business Records:

The Mississippi Secretary of State website keeps a registry of Mississippi business entities that exist or have dissolved through the corporation division. The database is free to use and makes it easy to find existing businesses or see if a business name may be available.

Court Records:

For those seeking online access to these records, the Mississippi Judiciary offers an online database, making it convenient for individuals to search and retrieve public court documents. However, if you're targeting specific records or counties, your local county courthouse is another valuable resource. It's crucial to recognize that not every county has transitioned to electronic databases. So, in some instances, you might find it necessary to approach the courthouse in person or submit a request by mail to access the records you need.

Driving Records:

The Driver Records Division of DPS is responsible for maintaining driving records in Mississippi. You can order your driving record online through the Self-Service Portal, where you need a credit card and your Mississippi Driver's License or ID number.

Professional Licenses:

The Mississippi Secretary of State Business Services division oversees business and corporate records. Additionally, Mississippi has boards for professions like architects, dentists, and psychologists. Most boards have an online database to search for professional records using criteria such as name or license number. If online searches aren't available, one can contact the specific board directly through various means, including in-person visits, mail, phone, or email.

Mississippi State Archives:

For historical or older records, you can go to the Mississippi Department of Archives & History. To access their collections, visit their website.

Criminal History

This could include state and federal convictions, imprisonment details, sexual offenses, traffic violations, and any inclusion of the person on terrorist watch lists.

Are Mississippi Public Records Available Online?

Public records accessibility online varies based on the governing agency. For instance, the Department of Corrections provides an Inmate Records database where one can search for inmates using their name or ID number. Counties, including Harrison and Jackson, allow online searches for land records. Additionally, third-party sites like InfoTracer offer a fee-based service for online public records searches.

State Public Records Law

Under the Mississippi Public Records Act of 1983, public records are deemed as public property, granting every individual the right to inspect them. This encompasses a range of documents, from court records and government documents to police reports, among others.

Which Records are Public in Mississippi?

Which Records are Not Public in Mississippi

The Mississippi Public Records Act grants public access to a plethora of records; however, it’s important to note that there are certain exceptions and not all records are openly accessible.

Mississippi Background Checks

Mississippi, though lacking a Ban-The-Box law, adheres to the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) that guides employers on the utilization of background checks during recruitment. Before initiating a background check, employers in Mississippi must obtain written consent from the prospective candidate.

Additionally, under Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, discrimination against employees or job seekers based on factors like race, color, religion, sex, or national origin is prohibited. Hence, background checks cannot be unjustly used to deny employment opportunities.

What Can Be Included in a Mississippi Background Check Report?

Criminal History

This could include state and federal convictions, imprisonment details, sexual offenses, traffic violations, and any inclusion of the person on terrorist watch lists.

Pending Criminal Cases

This could include pending criminal cases of the person.

Social Security/Citizenship Verification:

This validates the person's social security details, any known aliases, and their legitimate status as a U.S. citizen.

Sex Offender Records:

All registered sex offenders are documented by law in their locale.

Terrorism Monitoring List:

Post the 9/11 events, the government maintains a record of individuals with potential or known terrorist connections. This may also be included in the report.

Driving Records:

For roles requiring driving, a thorough check of any history of DUIs or reckless driving behaviors is undertaken.

Academic Records:

Verifying academic records provides an authentic account of an individual’s educational history and qualifications, especially since some may embellish their achievements.

Financial Report:

This offers insights into an individual's financial behaviors and responsibilities.

Mississippi Court Records

Overview of the Mississippi Judicial System and Its Structure

In Mississippi, details related to court cases are publicly accessible, except for records from juvenile courts.

Mississippi’s judiciary is structured into four primary tiers:

  • Supreme Court: This is the highest judicial authority. It reviews and determines outcomes for both criminal and civil cases, oversees lower courts, and regulates attorneys, among other duties.
  • Intermediate Appellate Court: The Intermediate Appellate Court hears appeals from the Courts of General Jurisdiction.
  • Courts of General Jurisdiction: In Mississippi, the two primary Courts of General Jurisdiction are the Circuit Courts and Chancery Courts. Circuit Courts handle a broad range of cases, including all felonies, divorces, land conflicts, and wills. On the other hand, Chancery Courts deal with matters of equity, encompassing areas like adoption, guardianship, trusts, and estates.
  • Courts of Limited Jurisdiction: In Mississippi, there are three specific Courts of Limited Jurisdiction: County, Justice, and Municipal Courts. The County Courts are responsible for handling misdemeanors, small claims, and traffic infractions. Justice Courts, with their limited civil and criminal purview, sometimes share jurisdiction with the Circuit and Chancery Courts in particular situations. Meanwhile, Municipal Courts are chiefly tasked with addressing violations of city ordinances occurring within city limits.

Types of Mississippi Court Records

Criminal Records

Judgment Records

Civil Court Records

Small Claims

Bankruptcy Filings

Probate Records

Restrictions, Limitations, and Confidentiality in Mississippi

Individuals involved in a conservatorship proceeding, designated attorneys, and those given notice under specific legal sections can access the court records related to the conservatorship, including the conservator’s plan and report. Others not automatically entitled can petition the court for access, which will be granted if it serves the best interest of the respondent or the public and doesn’t jeopardize the respondent’s well-being or finances.

Regarding reports by a guardian ad litem or professional evaluations, they might be deemed confidential and sealed by the court if necessary. If sealed, access is limited to:

  • The court.
  • The person the report or evaluation concerns, with no usage restrictions.
  • The petitioner, guardian ad litem, and attorneys of both the petitioner and respondent, but only for the proceeding’s purposes.
  • Anyone appointed under a power of attorney where the respondent is the principal unless the court specifies otherwise.
  • Any other individual if the court determines it’s in the public interest or there’s a valid reason.

What Do These Records Contain?

Criminal History

This could include state and federal convictions, imprisonment details, sexual offenses, traffic violations, and any inclusion of the person on terrorist watch lists.

Mississippi Public Vital Records

The Mississippi State Department of Vital Records and Statistics manages vital public records such as birth, death, and marriage documents in the state. However, if you’re seeking divorce records, they are housed at the local Chancery Clerk’s office as the state doesn’t maintain them. If you need vital records:

  1. Online: Utilize the VitalChek website to order birth, marriage, and death records.
  2. By Mail: For birth or death records, complete the Mississippi Application for Certified Copy of Birth Certificate or Death Certificate. Mail the form and requisite fees to: Mississippi State Department of Vital Records & Statistics, 222 Marketridge Drive, Ridgeland, MS 39157.
  3. In-person: Visit the Vital Records Office, open Monday-Friday, 8 am to 4 pm. Bring a valid photo ID to request records directly.

Mississippi Public Criminal Records

Definition and Types of Criminal Records in Mississippi

Mississippi criminal records are formal documents detailing an individual’s potential criminal activities or history. These records encompass data on arrests, convictions, and indictments. Thanks to the Mississippi Public Records Act, these criminal records are accessible to the public, often sought by potential employers to assess a candidate’s background.

Information contained in criminal records

Mississippi categorizes crimes into various types, such as infractions, misdemeanors, and felonies, each with distinct severities and penalties.

  1. Infractions: These are minor offenses requiring only a fine and carry no jail time. Traffic violations are prime examples in Mississippi.

  2. Misdemeanors: Considered more serious than infractions but less than felonies, misdemeanors in Mississippi can lead to a fine of up to $1,000, imprisonment for up to a year, or both. Common misdemeanors include:

    • Possession of marijuana (up to 30 grams) – Fines ranging from $100 to $250.
    • Simple domestic violence or assault – Up to six months in jail and a $500 fine.
    • Disturbing the peace – Up to six months in jail and a $500 fine.
    • Child neglect or non-severe abuse – One year in jail and a $1,000 fine.
    • Petit larceny (theft below $1,000) – One year in jail and a $1,000 fine.
    • Stalking – One year in jail and a $1,000 fine.
    • Hazing causing substantial injury – Six months in jail and a $2,000 fine.
  3. Felonies: These are the gravest offenses in Mississippi, with punishments varying based on the crime’s severity. Some examples include:

    • First-degree murder – Life imprisonment.
    • Robbery – Up to 15 years in prison.
    • Residential burglary – 3 to 25 years in prison.
    • Aggravated domestic violence – 2 to 10 years in prison.
    • Property theft exceeding $1,000 – Up to a $10,000 fine and 20 years in prison.
    • Mortgage fraud – Up to a $5,000 fine and 10 years in prison.
    • Manslaughter – Up to a $500 fine and 20 years in prison.

A felony conviction often leads to the forfeiture of certain rights, like voting or specific employment opportunities. Additionally, felonies are more challenging to expunge than misdemeanors.

Police Records and Reports

The Capitol Police Department's records division manages the collection, processing, and storage of all official reports and documents. Non-investigative reports, such as those pertaining to traffic accidents, can be sourced from this division. They entertain public requests for these documents from Monday through Friday.

Booking Records and Reports

Criminal records within Mississippi are overseen by the The Capitol Police Department's records division which is the primary point of reference for such searches.

DUI Records

In Mississippi, a DUI arrest initiates two separate proceedings: an administrative case and a criminal case. The administrative process is managed by Mississippi's driving authority, potentially leading to the suspension or revocation of one's driving rights. Concurrently, the criminal case, held in state court, may impose significant fines, incarceration, and other stringent penalties.

Felony and Misdemeanor Records

The Mississippi Department of Public Safety Criminal Information Center is the authoritative agency overseeing and managing Mississippi criminal records, encompassing both Felony and Misdemeanor details.

Parole Records

Probation allows defendants to avoid jail time altogether. However, for parole eligibility, inmates must complete over 25% of their assigned prison term. For instance, an individual with a 2-year sentence needs to serve a minimum of 9 months. Conversely, someone with a 30-year sentence must serve a minimum of 8 years before being considered for parole.

Probation Records

In Mississippi, judges have the option to offer probation as an alternative to jail time for eligible defendants. When probation is granted, a supervision interview is promptly conducted by the Probation Agent to clarify the terms of the probation to the offender. It's important to highlight that grave offenses like capital murder, murder, and manslaughter will bar an offender from receiving probation. Repeat offenders and those with prior convictions are also typically ineligible for probation

Warrant Search

To conduct a warrant search, individuals can opt for multiple methods. One common approach is to directly visit or phone the local sheriff's office to inquire about active warrants. However, this method poses a risk: if the individual in question has an active warrant, the sheriff or police officer can arrest them on the spot. An alternative and safer option is to search for warrants online.

Inmate And Jail Records

The Mississippi Department of Corrections offers an online Inmate Records database that allows the public to search for inmates by name or ID number. This comprehensive database provides details about inmate location, release date, and charges. Additionally, those seeking jail records can opt to visit their local sheriff's office for this information.

What You Can Find When Searching for an Inmate in Mississippi

In Mississippi, when embarking on an inmate search, you’re likely to uncover various details about the individual’s incarceration status and history:

When conducting an inmate search, the results typically provide the following information:

  • Inmate Location and Facility Details: This includes the current detention facility’s name, physical address, and contact information.
  • Booking Information and Charges: You’ll find details about the inmate’s booking history, including the date of booking, booking identifier, and the specific charges filed against them.
  • Sentence Length and Release Dates: Insights into the inmate’s sentence duration are available, along with the start date and an estimated release date. Note that the release date can be subject to modification based on factors like parole eligibility, good behavior, or other pertinent circumstances.
  • Parole Eligibility and Parole Board Decisions: Information about the inmate’s parole status, including eligibility, will be provided. Records of parole board deliberations, their decisions, and any conditions attached to a successful parole application are also accessible.

How to Conduct an Inmate Lookup in Mississippi

Inmate Search Methods in Mississippi:

Parole Search Options:

  • Similar Criteria: Parole searches utilize the same criteria as inmate searches, including first and last names and ID numbers.
  • Additional Criteria: Parole searches may also incorporate other factors like the city or county where the inmate may be incarcerated.

Can I Look Up Mugshots in Mississippi?

Certainly, here’s the information in a structured format:

How to Look Up Mugshots in Mississippi:

  1. Mississippi Department of Corrections (MDOC):
    • MDOC maintains an online inmate roster that includes mugshots.
    • Search for inmates by name or ID number.
  2. County Sheriff’s Offices:
    • Many county sheriff’s offices in Mississippi have their own online inmate rosters with mugshots.
    • Search for inmates by name, booking date, or charges.
  3. Third-Party Websites:
    • Various third-party websites aggregate mugshots from different sources.
    • Some of these websites may charge a fee to access their records.

Mississippi Arrest Records

In 1983, Mississippi enacted the Mississippi Public Records Act (Codes 25-61-1 through 25-61-17), which grants the public access to various Mississippi criminal records. These records encompass details such as current arrests, charges, warrants, disposition, and sentencing in cases. Essentially, the act ensures that anyone can obtain access to arrest records in Mississippi and other criminal history data, unless explicitly prohibited by state code.

What Do Mississippi Arrest Records Contain?

  • Personal Identification Details: Mississippi arrest records typically include the individual’s full name, date of birth, and may include additional identifiers like physical attributes or home address.
  • Arrest Information: This section typically includes the date, time, and place of the arrest. It also specifies the law enforcement agency responsible for the arrest and lists any specific charges filed against the person.
  • Booking Information: This part may include fingerprints and, in some cases, mugshots and other unique identifiers, although this can vary depending on the jurisdiction.
  • Charges and Criminal Offenses: Mississippi arrest records generally outline the specific charges leading to the arrest, and they may reference relevant Mississippi Statutes sections.
  • Court Case Information: While not typically found within the arrest record itself, details about court cases can usually be obtained from the Mississippi Court Records Online service. This can include case numbers, current statuses, and the outcomes of any legal proceedings.

Mississippi Property and Asset Records Online

Mississippi’s counties each have a Chancery Court responsible for handling all land records within their jurisdiction.

To access land records such as deeds and mortgages, you can either visit the local county Chancery Court in person or utilize online resources through third-party websites.

Unclaimed Properties in Mississippi

Unclaimed properties, on the other hand, are overseen by the Mississippi State Treasurer. You can initiate a search for unclaimed property on a dedicated website by entering either your name or the name of your business.

Driving Records

The Driver Records Division of the Mississippi Department of Public Safety (DPS) is tasked with the responsibility of maintaining driving records in the state.

To obtain your driving record, you have two options:

  • Online Order: You can order your driving record through the Self-Service Portal. You’ll need a credit card and your Mississippi Driver’s License or ID number for this method.
  • Mail Order: You can also request your driving record by mail by completing a specific form and sending it along with an $11 check or money order to the following address: Mississippi Department of Public Safety MVR-Driving Records P.O. Box 958 Jackson, Mississippi 39205

Traffic Infractions

Traffic infractions in Mississippi are non-criminal traffic violations, distinct from felony and misdemeanor traffic violations, and are considered less serious in nature. These infractions involve actions prohibited by traffic laws but do not result in criminal charges. As a consequence, individuals found guilty of traffic infractions are typically subject to minor penalties, such as fines associated with traffic tickets, rather than imprisonment. Common examples of traffic infractions encompass parking violations, equipment-related offenses, and pedestrian infractions.

Mississippi White Pages - Access to People, Addresses, and Other Non-Official Information

Address Search ​

Many online portals and websites offer reverse address lookup services. While some may require payment for access, they often provide a comprehensive array of details, including the property owner’s name, address, and occasionally their contact information.

People Search​

When seeking information about individuals in Mississippi, conducting a people search can be a useful method. There are several online platforms and public records websites that can provide basic information such as full names, addresses, and contact numbers. It’s important to be aware that while some of these websites may charge for their services, others may offer limited data access for free.

Can I Search By a Phone Number and Identify The Owner?

Reverse phone lookup tools are accessible to identify the owner of a particular phone number. These services provide information linked to the specified phone number, including the owner’s name, address, and occasionally, additional details such as photographs and links to their social media profiles. To use a reverse phone lookup, you can simply enter the phone number into the search bar of these platforms. Moreover, if you have other details like the individual’s name or address, some platforms may support searches using these parameters to uncover associated phone numbers.

How to Do a License Plate Lookup in Mississippi

For license plate lookup in Mississippi, you have three options:

  1. MS Department of Revenue: You can apply to the Mississippi Department of Revenue by completing a request form and waiting for the results. This official method may take some time.

  2. Online Mississippi License Plate Lookup: Private companies offer online Mississippi License Plate Lookup services, which are quick and easy. To perform a plate search, you’ll need a correct VIN (Vehicle Identification Number). Enter the VIN, and you can access vehicle details from their extensive databases.

  3. Private Investigator: If you’re willing to invest more money, you can hire a private investigator to obtain vehicle information. This method can be expensive but is still a viable option.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who and why can request public records?

In Mississippi, anyone can request access to public records, and no specific purpose needs to be provided for the request. There are no restrictions on the use of these records.

According to the Mississippi Public Records Act, if not specified by the individual department, departments are generally required to respond to requests within one working day. However, departments have the option to establish their own time limits, which can extend up to a maximum of fourteen working days.

Are there fees associated with requesting public records?

When requesting public records in Mississippi, it’s important to be aware that associated fees may apply. Many government entities impose modest charges to cover expenses related to tasks such as photocopying, digitizing, and assembling the requested documents. The exact fee structure can vary depending on the agency and the specifics of the request. In certain situations, such as for journalists or non-profit organizations, these charges may be discounted or entirely waived.

Can I access public records for free?

Mississippi offers convenient online access to numerous public records, as many government departments proactively publish specific records for public viewing on the web. However, if the desired records are not readily available online, it may be necessary to submit a formal application. Please note that such requests might be subject to corresponding fees or charges.

What is the response time for public records requests?

Under the Mississippi Public Records Act, if a specific response time is not stipulated by the individual department, departments are typically expected to respond to public records requests within one working day. However, it’s important to note that departments do have the flexibility to set their own time limits, which can extend to a maximum of fourteen working days if they choose to do so. The specific response time may vary depending on the department and the nature of the request.

Can my request be rejected?

In Mississippi, it is possible for public records requests to be declined under certain circumstances. Government entities may choose not to fulfill a request if the information falls under specific exemptions that legally protect it from public disclosure. Common justifications for denial include concerns related to personal privacy, ongoing legal investigations, national security interests, attorney-client privilege, or the protection of trade secrets.

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