What Is Involved With DUI Charges In Mississippi?
Need help with your driving under the influence (DUI), accident or criminal case? Sumrall & Welch, PLLC, provides DUI and criminal defense throughout Mississippi. For a free consultation, call 601-355-8775.
In Mississippi, it is a criminal offense to drive under the influence of alcohol or, for adults (ages 21 and over), to drive while having a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08. If you are under 21, the BAC limit is .02, and for commercial drivers, it is .04.
A DUI conviction can result in a criminal penalty; imprisonment, a fine or both; and suspension of your license for a specified time.
If a breath, blood or urine test shows that you have exceeded the BAC limit while driving, then your driving license can be immediately suspended, and you will be issued with a special temporary license pending the outcome of the case.
If you refuse to submit to a test, that can be held against you in subsequent criminal proceedings unless you can demonstrate that your refusal was reasonable.
Most first DUI convictions are misdemeanors, but if your DUI results in the death or disfigurement of somebody else, then the DUI offense can become a felony resulting in imprisonment of between five and 25 years.
The penalties in Mississippi for DUI are severe and include:
- For an adult on a first offense, there can be a fine of $250 to $1,000 as well as court costs, imprisonment in a county jail for up to 48 hours and a one-year suspension of your driving license.
- For an adult on a second offense within five years, there can be a fine of between $600 and $1,500 as well as court costs; imprisonment in a county jail for between five days and one year; or community service of 10 days to one year, two years of license suspension and your vehicle impounded or immobilized for the term of your license suspension.
- For a third offense, there is a fine of between $2,000 and $5,000, one to five years imprisonment, the suspension of your driver’s license for five years, the seizure of your vehicle for sale by the state and your conviction as a felon, with the accompanying loss of certain civil rights, such as the right to vote.
Defenses Against DUI
- You can challenge the actions of the arresting officer. Did the officer have cause to suspect you of DUI, or did he or she stop your vehicle on a random basis?
- Was the breath, blood or urine test conducted at the right time? It is not unusual for the test to take place an hour after the officer pulls you over. That interval may create a defense that the BAC may have been lower at the time you were driving as compared with the time you were tested.
- You may want to have an independent blood or urine test as soon as possible after your release from custody, which may help to invalidate the charges against you. The results of a breath test or blood test can often be challenged.
- Did the arresting officer submit the arresting ticket to the clerk of the court within the appropriate timescale?
- Do you have a medical condition that could mimic impairment or invalidate the findings of the BAC test?
If you are questioned and/or charged with DUI, then it is vital that you do not say anything before you have consulted an attorney, even to your own family. Do not assume that nothing can be done about any charges. The laws against DUI are becoming ever more severely enforced, and it is important to get advice from an attorney with DUI experience so that all your options can be considered.