DUI Consequences in MS
Thinking of getting in the car after a night out at your favorite bar? Think twice, because getting a DUI in Mississippi can mean more than a quiet word with the local highway patrol. Like many states, Mississippi has implemented strict drinking and driving laws, with stringent consequences that can haunt you, your driving record and even your insurance. Driving with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08% or higher is illegal in the state. It drops to 0.02% if you are under 21.
The first thing you have to remember before you start that engine is that Mississippi has an implied consent law. What does this mean for you? This means that unlike in some other states, you can’t refuse if a police officer suspects that your alcohol intake is above the limit and orders a Breathalyzer test. The implied consent law extends to blood and/or urine tests, if the officer suspects that you are under the influence of illegal drugs. Refusing to take the test alone can result in a hefty fine (the minimum is usually $250) and up to 90 days of a suspended license. If you have priors, then you can look at a suspension that will last at least a year.
First time offenders are usually fined $250-$1,000 if convicted of driving under the influence. The second drunk driving conviction usually sets fines of upwards of $600 to $1,500. A third conviction can get you anywhere from $2,000 to $5,000. These fines are usually set by a judge and can be higher or lower depending on the context, situation and victim impact. Fines may be compounded by damages awarded to victims (of a car crash, for example), attorney’s fees and other costs.
A suspended license is one of the most frustrating consequences of a drunk driving conviction. Driving is a privilege, and a conviction means you have to earn your place on the road again. First time offenders get off with light 3-month (90 day) suspension, but imagine commuting every single day of those 90 days. A 2-year suspension awaits 2nd time offenders. By the third time, you can expect a 5-year suspension. However, extreme drunk driving cases that result in bodily harm or the death of other passengers can mean a permanently revoked license.
JAIL TIME AND COMMUNITY SERVICE
Any offender may, at the discretion of a judge, serve time in jail. The length of your stay in a cell can range anywhere from 48 hours to five years. Again, this can be compounded by any accompanying offense (resisting arrest, for example) that aggravates the DUI conviction.
OTHER POSSIBLE CONSEQUENCES
The state may also require you to attend Victim Impact panels, perform community service or complete an alcohol safety program before you’re allowed back on the road. In severe cases or in the case of multiple offenses, the state will require an ignition interlock or impound any vehicles that you own just to keep you off the road. DUIs are considered red flags, so expect your insurance premiums to shoot up as well.