Within the past two years my husband received two DUI first offense charges in two different counties. He was convicted just a few months ago for an actual DUI first (which was actually the second of the two). He is going to court soon for the other DUI first charge, so can he be convicted as a second DUI offense? This second one will actually be the first offense charge. Thank you.
The law in Mississippi is clear on this question.Your husband MUST have been CONVICTED of a DUI to be charged with a second DUI offense. Two charges for dui without a conviction must be tried as two first offenses.Please refer to my publication MISSISSIPPI DUI LAW AND PRACTICE,2010,Thompson/West or my web site mississippidui.com.
While the statute is not altogether clear, I would argue that he could not be convicted of a second offense, for what was actually the first offense.
Criminal statutes should be strictly construed in favor of the defendant. A fair reading of the statute is that there must be a prior conviction and sentence, at the time the second offense was committed. The Mississippi Supreme Court has not addressed this issue, and my legal analysis for reaching this conclusion is too long to post here.
As a practical matter, it is a strong possibility that the first county is unaware of the DUI in the second county. I have had similar issues arise in past cases. Where the cases were pending in multiple jurisdictions, the prosecutor on the second case has *never* been aware of the first DUI. In those cases, the second case has been handled as a first offense.
Because the penalties for DUI-Second Offense are severe, and include mandatory jail time, I suggest you contact a Mississippi DUI lawyer immediately.
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