Did you know that in the United States, 10% of all arrests are due to driving under the influence (DUI)?
It is a real issue in the country, with over 10,000 deaths per year as a result of it. Most of the time, people think of drunk driving when it comes to DUIs.
However, a DUI can also be the result of someone being under the influence of drugs while they are driving a vehicle. In Mississippi, the state considers these very similar offenses in its legal system.
So, what are the consequences of getting convicted of a DUI in Mississippi? What are the state DUI laws in Mississippi? This is your guide.
What Is a DUI?
A DUI stands for driving under the influence. In Mississippi, this can mean two things. The more common thought for DUI is driving under the influence of alcohol. That can mean having a .08% or above blood alcohol concentration.
However, in the Magnolia State, it also means driving under the influence of drugs. Under the influence here can mean making the driver impaired or just being under the influence of a drug that is illegal in the state.
This can be proven by a blood test and before that, any reasonable suspicion from a police officer that you may be driving impaired.
In this state, the consequences of a DUI via alcohol or drugs are usually treated very similarly. Like anything else, the consequences of this charge tend to get greater the more often that you do it. Mississippi has a minimum set of consequences for a DUI, particularly if you have a certain amount in a five-year period.
First DUI Offense
A first DUI offense in Mississippi and most other states for a DUI is usually treated a lot lighter than if you are a repeat offender. That is because this can be more likely to appear as a regretful mistake. The hope from this first offense is a courtroom not to see you back there for the same charge after that.
With that in mind, the minimum fine for a DUI in Mississippi on a first offense is $250. However, it can go up to a maximum of $1,000.
Alternatively to a fine, the court can rule that you have to go to jail for up to 48 hours. However, the court does have the option to replace jail time with time served in a victim impact panel.
As for your driver’s license, you should expect to lose that for 90 days. However, an exception to this length is possible if you prove that the length of the suspension will cause economic hardship. If you can do that successfully, you may be able to get your driver’s license back after 30 days.
Second DUI Offense
Generally, because you are a repeat offender in this scenario, the court is likely going to be a lot harsher on you this time around. The following penalties apply for a second DUI offense if it has occurred within the last five years.
The minimum fine for a second DUI offense more than doubles from $250 to $600. As for the maximum fine, that increases by 50% to $1,500.
As for jail time, you are now looking at a minimum of five days with no panel to get you out of that sentence. The maximum jail time for a second offense is one year.
Your driver’s license suspension increases significantly with a second offense. It goes from 90 days up to two years your next time around. On top of this, you face the possibility of your vehicle getting impounded.
On top of the penalties mentioned above, another one that gets added in on your second offense is community service. The minimum amount of time you have to serve here is 10 days. However, the maximum time can be up to a year.
Third DUI Offense
When it comes to a third DUI offense in five years, it is considered a felony in Mississippi. With that, the severity of the penalties takes a significant step up.
Let’s start with the fines. Here, the minimum fine goes from $250 to $2,000. The maximum fine here increases by five times from $1,000 to $5,000.
Then, you would have to face the possibility that you are going to be spending significant time in jail. The minimum jail time for this charge is one year. However, you could be looking at a maximum of five years in jail.
On top of the above, you would be looking at your vehicle being seized by the state. Most likely, you would not need it anytime soon anyway, as the license suspension time for this offense is five years.
Additional DUI Offenses
So, after three DUI offenses, you would think that most people would learn their lesson by now. Unfortunately, there are people out there who reach the maximum category of four or more offenses. If you find yourself in this situation, you are looking at the fullest extent of the state law for this type of charge.
With a fourth offense, it does not matter how long it has been since your last offense. You do not get the five-year grace period like the other offenses listed above.
Like the third offense, a fourth offense and beyond is a felony in Mississippi. The minimum fine for this offense is $3,000 and you can face a maximum fine of up to $10,000.
As for prison time, that takes another big step up here. The minimum prison time for this offense is two years but you can be sentenced to prison for up to 10 years.
On top of all of this, people who have had four or more DUI offenses are required to have an ignition-interlock device in their vehicle for at least 10 years.
This type of DUI is taken more seriously than the others mentioned because, with this one, it involves the bodily harm of someone in your car or someone else involved in an accident. It can even be the result of death for someone else.
If this DUI causes death to another person, the minimum prison sentence in Mississippi is five years. The maximum prison sentence for this offense can be 25 years.
One important note here is that the above penalties are for each death that is caused. That means if two people died because of a DUI, the guilty party could be looking at a minimum of 10 years in prison and up to 50 years.
After someone gets out of prison for this type of crime, they would have to have an ignition-interlock device in their vehicle for a maximum of five years.
Another more extreme version of a DUI is child endangerment. In this case, it is a driver over 21 years old that is charged with a DUI while having someone who is 16 years old or younger in the car with them.
These are the penalties of child endangerment here under the assumption that the child was not seriously hurt or killed during the incident.
A first offense is treated with a maximum fine of $1,000 and a maximum jail sentence of one year.
For a second offense, the maximum fine from before becomes the minimum fine. The maximum fine goes up to $5,000. As for jail time, the maximum sentence is still one year.
Now, on a third offense, the minimum fine goes all the way up to $10,000. As for jail time, the maximum jail time from before now becomes the minimum jail time. The new maximum jail time is five years.
As for a fourth violation, you may be looking at permanent damage. The minimum fine is still $10,000 here. However, once again, the maximum jail time from before becomes the new minimum here. The new maximum jail time is 25 years.
One last thing to remember is if you are driving in Mississippi and you get pulled over, you are automatically giving consent for police to test if you are under the influence. A failure to comply with this in this state can result in a driver’s license suspension of 90 days.
The test can be of the driver’s breath, blood, and urine. A refusal to submit to this test means that the police can use that as evidence in a possible trial.
Be Prepared for Driving Under the Influence Penalties
These are the possible penalties that you face if you are caught driving under the influence in Mississippi. Of course, the best way to avoid this stress and preparation is to not take drugs while operating a vehicle.
However, if you do find yourself in any of the scenarios above, you need to contact a DUI attorney immediately to fight for you.
Are you ready to start the process of hiring a DUI attorney? Message us today to see how we can help with your case.