A Driving Under the Influence “DUI” is a serious offense in Mississippi. A DUI charge carries hefty fines and penalties such as Court cost, fines, expensive high risk insurance (SR22 insurance), and suspension of your driver’s license. It can also cause you problems with you credit score, getting a rental car, and complications with your employment if you have a driving related job or future employment.
What are the limits?
The amount of alcohol you have in your system is measured by your blood alcohol content “BAC”. The amount of alcohol you can drink without going over the BAC level depends on several factors such as your weight and the time that has passed since you consumed the alcohol.
For persons under the age of 21, the amount is .02% BAC.
For persons 21 years and older, the amount is .08% BAC.
For persons with commercial driver’s license, the amount is .04% BAC.
What if I refuse to take the test?
In Mississippi, you are required by statute to submit to a chemical test, as a privilege of obtaining a driver’s license. If you refuse the test, then you are subjected to a fine and automatic license suspension of at least 90 days. This is knows as Mississippi’s “Implied Consent law”. If you refuse to take the test, you will receive a Notice letter from the Department of Public Safety saying your license have been suspended, and if you wish to fight this automatic suspension, you have only 10 day from the date you received the letter to get your attorney to file a Petition for Breath Test Refusal in the county where you received the ticket. This is often called a “BTR” hearing and will be a separate court case from the regular DUI court case in Justice or Municipal court. If you are not successful at the BTR hearing, or you miss the deadline for filing the petition within the 10 day period, you cannot apply for a Hardship License.
Does a DUI carry minimum Jail time?
For a DUI 1st offense there is no minimum jail time but up to 48 hours.
For a DUI 2nd offense, there is a 5 day minimum jail time up to 1 year.
For a DUI 3rd offense, there is a 1 year minimum jail time up to 5 years in the State Penitentiary.
What are the fines?
DUI 1st – From $250 up to $1,000. Driver’s license suspended for 90 days. You may also be required to complete and Alcohol Safety Education Program. (Hardship License is possible)
DUI 2nd – From $600 up to $1,500. Driver’s license suspension for 2 years. Community service from 10 days to 1 year. You may also be required to have an Ignition Interlock device installed on your vehicle.
DUI 3rd – (FELONY) Fine from $2,000 up to $5,000. Driver’s license suspension for 5 years. Vehicle Seizure. You may also be required to have an Ignition Interlock devise installed, as well as other requirements.
In order to determine if your conviction is a 2nd or 3rd offense, there is a 5 year look back period. If you have received a DUI in another state, Mississippi give full faith and credit to the other states charges, and it will be used to enhance your charge.
A DUI cannot be expunged from your record. Therefore if you get convicted of a Felony DUI 3rd offense, you will be a convicted felon for the rest of your life.
Do I need an Attorney?
This question is determined on a case by case basis, and based on the facts surrounding your case. Every person can represent himself, but due to the seriousness of the charge it is never recommended to go to court unrepresented.