Expungement Alternative: Certificate of Rehabilitation

An expungement is having your arrest/conviction record wiped clean. However, not every offense is entitled to such relief. But do not despair, you may have another option.


Miss Code 97-37-5 makes it unlawful for a person convicted of a felony of this state …to possess any firearm, or any bowie knife, butcher knife, switchblade knife, metallic knuckles, blackjack or any muffler or silencer.

In the case of a person with a felony that is not eligible for expungement, or the person has more than one felony, that person may still be able to own and possess a firearm in Mississippi through obtaining a Certificate of Rehabilitation.

A person may apply to the court in which he was convicted for a Certificate of Rehabilitation. The Judge has discretion in awarding this Certificate, and the petitioner must show that he has been rehabilitated and led a useful, productive and law-abiding life since the completion of his sentence. The Court must also find that the person will not be likely to act in a manner dangerous to public safety.

Most often this option is for an older adult, who had a youthful indiscretion. An old, non-violent felony, a drug conviction for instance, prevents Granddad from taking grandson hunting.  Granddad paid his debt to society, abided by the law and a led a productive life. Perhaps his felony is not eligible for an expungement, but it may allow for a Certificate of Rehabilitation.

Matthew Thompson is a Mississippi Attorney and serves on the board with the Mississippi Volunteer Lawyers Project, an organization which holds Expungement clinics.

Matthew@bowtielawyer.ms             (601) 850-8000


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