Non-Adjudication Lawyer in Starksville, MS
Mississippi has recently adopted a non-adjudication law that allows non-violent, first time offenders to potentially avoid a conviction if certain requirements are met. When successful, a non-adjudication program allows a defendant to avoid jail time and other harsh penalties, as well as to keep their criminal record clean. However, there are certain requirements that must be met in order for the defendant to qualify for the program, and a criminal defense attorney must request that the defendant be considered for the program.
Requirements for Non-Adjudication in Mississippi:
- If a defendant has a prior felony conviction of any kind, he or she will not be eligible for the non-adjudication program.
- The crime the defendant is charged with must not be a violent crime, a crime against a person, or a crime involving the distribution of drugs.
- For example, a felony charge of robbery or rape would not be eligible for non-adjudication. However, a misdemeanor crime of shoplifting would.
What Happens in a Non-Adjudication Case:
- The defendant enters a guilty plea.
- The judge holds the plea in non-adjudicated status and sets certain conditions for the defendant to follow.
- Conditions that must be met in order to proceed with the non-adjudicated program include not committing any other crimes (either misdemeanor or felony), paying certain fines, enrolling in a community service program, enrolling in mandatory counseling or rehabilitation, and drug testing. Other requirements may be set that are specific to the case.
- Once the conditions are met, the charges against the defendant are dismissed entirely and the criminal record is expunged automatically.
- If the conditions are not met, the judge will likely take the guilty plea out of non-adjudicated status and proceed with a criminal conviction and sentencing.
There are many benefits to pursuing Mississippi’s non-adjudication program if you are charged with an eligible crime. However, it is critical that the defendant be committed to the program and to be prepared to fulfill all requirements set forth by the judge in order to avoid a conviction.
How a Criminal Defense Attorney Can Help:
A prosecutor or judge will not offer a defendant a non-adjudication program as an option. The defendant’s criminal defense lawyer must ask for this program specifically. If you were charged with a non-violent crime that meets the criteria for a non-adjudication program, don’t hesitate to contact an experienced lawyer to represent you throughout the non-adjudication process.
J. Brian Kelley is a seasoned criminal defense attorney with experience in Mississippi’s new non-adjudication laws. Call today for a consultation to discuss your case at (662) 324-3476.