Lance O. Mixon is one of Mississippi’s preeminent attorneys whose practice focuses on driving under the influence (DUI) and criminal defense litigation. He is a graduate of The Florida State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminology. Lance received his Juris Doctor from Mississippi College School of Law. He is admitted to practice in all Mississippi state courts, the United States District Courts for the Northern and Southern Districts of Mississippi, and the Supreme Court of the United States of America. His practice consists of both the trial and appellate litigation of DUI and criminal cases, and he has handled matters across Mississippi in numerous municipal, justice, county, and circuit courts, spanning sixty-two (62) counties as of early 2011. Lance has also represented a client in a criminal case on a pro hac vice basis in Alabama. He has handled appeals in the Mississippi Supreme Court and Court of Appeals. Lance’s reported cases include Gilpatrick v. State of Mississippi, 991 So. 2d 130 (Miss. 2008), which was decided by the Supreme Court of Mississippi, and Deeds v. State of Mississippi, 131 S.Ct. 150, 178 L.Ed. 2d. 37 (2010), which eventually made its way to the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, D.C.
While in law school, Lance was a law clerk for his mentor, nationally renowned attorney DUI defense attorney Victor W. Carmody, and is now an associate of the Carmody Law Office, based in Flowood. He is a proud member of the prestigious National College for DUI Defense (NCDD), where he attends the annual summer session at the Harvard Law School, and the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL). Lance frequently attends numerous seminars about the defense of DUI cases across the United States, and he regularly instructs at seminars in Mississippi on topics such as field sobriety tests and DUI case law and legislation. Lance has received advanced training related to the Intoxilyzer 8000 breath testing machine, and is also certified in Standardized Field Sobriety Testing. Attorneys from around the state routinely contact him for advice and insight on DUI law, procedures, and strategies in representing citizens accused of DUI.
In 2010, The National Trial Lawyers (formerly known as The American Trial Lawyers Association) included him in the selection of the Top 100 trial lawyers in the state of Mississippi. [See www.thenationaltriallawyers.org.] Lance is the youngest attorney in the state to belong to this elite class of prominent trial lawyers.
Lance’s expertise in DUI law and criminal defense also extends to his writing abilities. He is a co-author of Mississippi DUI: Law and Practice, a publication of Thomson-West, Understanding DUI Scientific Evidence, 2010 Edition, by Aspatore Publishing Company, and Mississippi Criminal Trial Practice Forms by Thomson-West.
Most of Lance's clients who are charged with DUI stand to lose a great deal: driver's license, job, career promotions and progress, academic opportunities, clean record, and reputation in the community. These are things that are additional to the mandatory sentencing laws which courts are required to impose, which consist of, among other things, jail, fines and court costs, attendance at alcohol safety education classes, etc.. Not only that, a criminal conviction for DUI in Mississippi will result in a permanent conviction which can NEVER be expunged from one's criminal record. The long-felt ripple effect of a DUI conviction all-too-often results in loss of employment or modification of employment, adjustments in vehicle insurance (which includes MANDATORY SR-22 high-risk insurance in order to reinstate the driver's license), and a negative social and professional stigma. Groups such as Mothers Against Drunk Driving (M.A.D.D.) have contributed to a widespread belief that a DUI offender is necessarily an alcoholic, a deadbeat, and a potential killer (in an alcohol-related car accident). Lance knows and understands that this is far from the truth. The overwhelming majority of his clients are first-time offenders who have never been in trouble before, much less charged with a crime. However, Lance also represents subsequent offenders and those charged with felony DUI involving injuries or deaths.
Lance has represented clients ranging from nearly all walks of life: construction workers; truck drivers; military officers; college students; SEC student-athletes; law students; medical students; doctors; nurses; pharmacists; business owners; and other attorneys, just to name a few. He firmly believes that DUI law and procedure is at the forefront of the erosion of many constitutional rights in the criminal justice system: the presumption of innocence; the 4th Amendment protections which encompasses traffic stops, searches and seizures; the 5th Amendment right to silence and against self-incrimination; the 6th Amendment right to a lawyer; the disappearing right to a jury trial; and the basic, fundamental due process rights to fairness in criminal proceedings, among many other things. The crime of DUI, however, is a crime of opinion. Most often, a law enforcement officer will make an arrest based on less-than-compelling, inconclusive evidence of intoxication. It is rare that the officer will interview a single witness regarding the alcohol or drug consumption of a suspect, even if that witness is seated in the passenger’s seat of the suspect’s vehicle. The officer forms an opinion that a driver is “under the influence” based on ambiguous evidence such as bloodshot eyes, slurred speech, smell of alcoholic beverages, performance of field sobriety exercises (if any), and the manner of driving which led to the traffic stop. Most often, the officer will attempt to verify his or her opinion with a chemical test of the driver’s breath (most common), blood, or urine. The testing devices for these things have numerous flaws, and the procedures and methods in which the driver is tested can sometimes produce erroneous results.
Very few things are as professionally satisfying to Lance as having successfully defended citizens whose DUI cases many other lawyers thought were unwinnable. Described by his colleagues in the legal profession as intense and tenacious, Lance’s personal life experiences, his values, and willpower in the pursuit of justice has molded him into an inspired and relentless trial lawyer. On one occasion, an assistant district attorney, who was attempting to dissuade a witness from testifying against one of Lance’s clients, referred to him as “a shark” who would “sink his teeth” into her if she took the witness stand. His client avoided a possible forty-five (45) year prison sentence. Lance credits his involvement with the National College for DUI Defense (NCDD), in which he annually attends the summer session at the Harvard Law School, for much of his success in these complex endeavors. Lance's trial skills, trial performances, knowledge of criminal trial practice, accomplishments and principles helped earn his selection by The National Trial Lawyers as one of Mississippi's Top 100 trial lawyers.
While the majority of Lance’s cases involve DUI, he has also handled criminal cases including, but not limited to: assault; malicious mischief; manslaughter; money laundering; murder; possession of cocaine; possession of controlled substances; possession of marijuana; retaliation against public officials; shoplifting; solicitation of prostitution; and trespassing.