Criminal Law in Mississippi
If you have been arrested for a Mississippi crime, your future, finances, and freedom are all at stake. And,this article was written for you.
Here's what you need to do now:
- Search for "How to find a Mississippi criminal defense attorney" on the Internet.
- Contact one or more attorney offices. Make sure the lawyer is both licensed in Mississippi and focuses legal practice on criminal defense.
- Ask questions before hiring a defense lawyer. Your questions may include how to post bail, how the attorney can help you, what you can expect during the criminal process, what are the potential punishments, and how long each step will take.
- Select the attorney with whom you are most comfortable.
Here's what we'll do for you in this article. We'll discuss:
- Mississippi criminal laws, in general;
- What you need to know about criminal defense in Mississippi; and
- How to work with your Mississippi criminal defense attorney.
Mississippi Criminal Laws
Mississippi criminal laws are found in the Mississippi Code of 1972 (Title 97),as amended. Actions or inactions that are thought to cause harm are criminalized in an attempt to prevent harm.
The many crimes are listed in the Mississippi Code; they include buying or receiving dead bodies, bribery, bigamy, voyeurism, indecent exposure, grand larceny, looting, malicious mischief, DUI, and vandalism.
Statute of Limitations
Criminal charges must be brought within a certain period of time or be forever barred. If the statute of limitations has passed, it serves as a complete defense.
However, statutes of limitation vary greatly from state to state; and, Mississippi doesn't have a statute of limitations for the more serious offenses.
For example, in Mississippi, the statute of limitations for:
- Rape, robbery, theft, murder, kidnapping, burglary, and manslaughter are unlimited (Miss. Code В§99-1-5).
- Disorderly Conduct is 2 years (Miss. Code В§99-1-5).
- Assault is unlimited or 2 years, depending on the facts of the case (Miss. Code В§99-1-5).
Your criminal defense lawyer will explain the statute of limitation in your individual case.
Punishment such as probation, community service, educational programs, fines, restitution, jail, suspension of driving privileges, house arrest, drug counseling, and capital punishment are used to deter future criminal behavior, provide restitution, and protect society.
Mississippi has sentencing guidelines that describe the minimum and maximum sentences for a particular crime.
For example, in Mississippi, sentencing guidelines call for:
- Between 1 and 20 years for assaulting a police officer.
- Up to 10 years in jail and up to $1,000 in fines for assisted suicide.
- Up to 6 months in jail and up to $1,000 in fines for animal cruelty.
Ask your Mississippi criminal defense lawyer what punishments are possible for the crime you are being accused of.
What You Need to Know About Criminal Defense
- Do not delay. Your interests must be protected and evidence must be preserved. Consult with a qualified Mississippi criminal defense lawyer immediately.
- Unfortunately, even innocent people are convicted of committing crimes and sent to jail. You need a defense attorney, even if you are innocent.
- Honesty really is the best policy. Be completely honest and open with your defense attorney. Tell your attorney everything even if it makes you look bad.
- If you are not allowed to leave, you are under arrest. Ask for an attorney.
How to Work with a Mississippi Criminal Defense Lawyer
Your attorney is your strongest advocate. Everything your attorney does is to help you, even if it doesn't feel like it at the time. Work with, not against, your own lawyer.
You need to do everything on this list:
- Have confidence in your lawyer. Heed all advice.
- Tell your criminal defense lawyer exactly what happened, even if the facts put you in a bad light.
- Return your law firm's phone calls promptly.
- Provide requested information promptly.
- Stay in contact with your attorney.
- Update address and phone number if either change.
- Know that it's okay if your lawyer questions you. It's part of the investigation and defense strategy development.
- Know that it's okay if your attorney is polite and cooperative with police officers, investigators, the prosecutor, or the alleged victim. They are not in any kind of conspiracy against you.
- Know that being polite is a matter of common sense. You get more of what you want if you're nice.
Qualified Mississippi criminal defense attorneys know criminal law and criminal procedure, understand the charges against you, and know how to put forward your best defenses. If you or a loved one has been arrested, you need a criminal defense attorney immediately to get out of jail, get you home with your family, and protect your future.