- February 23, 2022
- Lingold Spencer
- Criminal Defense
Laws defining driving under the influence, commonly referred to as DUI, vary from state to state. If you or someone you know is arrested for and charged with a DUI in the state of Mississippi, it is important to understand the nuances of the state laws. It could mean the difference between a misdemeanor and a felony.
Mississippi DUI Laws
Several factors, including the individual circumstances surrounding the arrest, will determine the punishment for a DUI in Mississippi. You may have been stopped at a sobriety checkpoint or violated a traffic law. You may even have been involved in a traffic accident. In all cases, if you are driving with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08 percent or more, you may be charged with a DUI.
In Mississippi, getting convicted of a DUI could mean that you spend anywhere from one or two days in jail or up to five years in jail, as well as a variety of other penalties. Of course, each situation is unique, so it is imperative that you discuss your individual case with a qualified lawyer who has a commitment to faithful service to their clients.
Different Laws for Different Drivers
Mississippi differentiates between drivers over 21 years of age and under 21 years of age. Specifically, if you are a driver 21 years of age or older, .08 percent BAC is the legal limit.
Commercial drivers, like those driving semi-trucks or buses, are held to a higher standard. They can be charged with and convicted of DUI if their BAC percentage is .04 percent or higher.
Drivers under the age of 21 are not legally permitted to drink alcohol. Mississippi takes this seriously, mandating that these drivers can be arrested for DUI at .02 percent.
A DUI can wreak havoc on your life, impacting your future and making work and home life difficult. Regardless of the circumstances, it is important to find a criminal defense lawyer who has winning results. Each case is different, and talking to a lawyer will help you understand the nuances of your particular situation.
What Does It Mean If You Get a Misdemeanor DUI in Mississippi?
If you or your loved one has never had a DUI, they will be considered a first-time DUI offender. This offense carries the lightest penalties for DUI and is considered a misdemeanor. It is still a serious offense, however, with the possibility of up to 48 hours in jail and fines of anywhere between $250 and $1,000. As a result of a first-offense DUI, you can also lose your driver’s license for 90 days.
Losing your driver’s license makes things like going to work and school difficult. Moreover, fines and penalties can seriously impact your bank account. A DUI conviction can also mean a lost job.
Things can be more serious if the circumstances of the case are not straightforward — for instance, if there was an auto accident or someone got hurt or even killed. In these situations, you or your loved one could be facing additional jail time or charges.
Can You Refuse a BAC Test?
Implied consent essentially means that if you are operating a vehicle on the roads in Mississippi, you consent to a BAC test. However, if you refuse a BAC test, there is an automatic fine and driver’s license suspension.
The first time you refuse implied consent, you face a driver’s license suspension of 90 days. If your first offense was a DUI, your subsequent refusal would be an automatic one-year license suspension. Penalties are similar if it is the second time you refuse a BAC test and you end up getting a DUI.
Subsequent DUIs and Additional Charges
If this is not the first DUI that a person is charged with or convicted of, they can face harsher penalties and consequences. There can also be other charges that stem from the activity giving rise to the DUI.
Second Offense DUI
If you are charged with a second-offense DUI, the punishment is as little as five days in jail or as long as one year in jail. This punishment will also be accompanied by fines ranging between $600 and $1,500 and a two-year driver’s license suspension.
Third Offense DUI
In Mississippi, a third offense DUI is a felony with a minimum of one year in jail. The maximum punishment for a felony DUI is five years in prison. With this conviction, you are also facing fines of between $2,000 and $5,000 and a driver’s license suspension of five years.
Fourth and Subsequent Offense DUI
A fourth and subsequent offense DUI is a felony in Mississippi and has substantial penalties that include a fine, prison time and placement of an ignition lock in your vehicle. The fines are between $3,000 and $10,000. Given the severity of this offense, the penalties also include prison time between two and ten years. In addition, for ten years, you would be ineligible to operate a motor vehicle that is not equipped with an ignition-interlock device.
There are certainly cases where a person is just charged with DUI and nothing else. However, there are also DUI cases that involve other charges, like speeding, failure to yield or even charges resulting from the death or injury of another person.
Contact a Criminal Defense Lawyer Who Is Invested in the Local Community
Every case is different, but it is vital to work with an attorney who treats your case with the importance it deserves. When you hire the legal team at Ringer, Lingold & Spencer, you can be confident that you are receiving top-notch representation from a team of caring and professional advocates who have deep knowledge of the legal avenues available to vigorously protect your rights. Don’t let a DUI conviction negatively impact your whole future. If you or somebody you love has been arrested for a DUI in Mississippi, contact our skilled legal team of DUI lawyers at (601) 845-5050 for an immediate consultation.