A drunk driving conviction in Mississippi is a serious criminal offense. Gone are the days when it was considered just another traffic infraction. The laws have gotten strict and are now strongly enforced. A DUI conviction today can bring you jail time, loss of your license, heavy fines and court fees, and a permanent DUI conviction on your driving record. It could even affect your career if your job involves driving. If you are facing a DUI in Mississippi, it is vital that you get proper legal representation before you step into a court room.
If you are operating a motorized vehicle while intoxicated you can be arrested. State law dictates that your BAC (blood alcohol content) is .08 or higher for an arrest to be made, but note that only involves a scientific measurement of alcohol content and has nothing to do with your actual driving. Yes, you can be arrested while driving perfectly if your BAC is .08. There’s also another way you can be arrested, and ironically it has nothing at all to do with your BAC. The peace officer can arrest you merely on an opinion that you are unable to operate the vehicle in a safe manner. This may include observations of you weaving outside lanes, slow acceleration at intersections, erratic braking, and a few dozen other things. The officers are trained to look for certain factors and will readily pull you over if you’re guilty of them. You will probably be asked to perform field sobriety tests and take a breath test. You are not required to perform sobriety tests, but Mississippi is an “implied consent” state, which assumes you have given the right to a breath or chemical test when you accepted your driver’s license. A specially trained DUI attorney can guide you through the procedure with confidence, taking all the stress off of you. Once you are arrested and booked into jail, you may then contact a DUI lawyer for advise.
The arrest will trigger two different legal cases against you, one is a court case which will deal with jail time, fines and fees, and any remedial alcohol education programs. The second is an administrative case which deals with your license suspension, reinstatement, revocation and points on your license. Your license will be immediately suspended upon arrest. You will have only 10 days to request a hearing to fight the suspension. If you fail to request the hearing, your license will automatically be suspended without recourse. Additionally, if you should refuse the breath or chemical tests, your license will automatically be suspended, with no possibility of a hardship license.
The laws are complicated and the penalties are particularly punitive. And the repercussions can last for the rest of your life. Don’t take a chance on your future without contacting a Mississippi DUI attorney right away for a free consultation.
The penalties listed below are called for by statute, are not complete, and can often be removed or reduced significantly with the assistance of a local Mississippi DUI attorney.
• Incarceration – 48 hours; victim impact panel attendance imposed by the court as an alternative
• Fines – $250 to $1,000
• License Suspension – 90 days after completion of alcohol safety education program; months; 1 year for refusal or no hearing request within 10 days
• Insurance – SR22 high risk policy required for 3 years
• Education – must attend alcohol safety education program
• Hardship License – possible, after 30 days suspension; not available for test refusal
ADDITIONAL COSTS AND CONSEQUENCES
• Bail – set by the court, required before being released after being arrested
• Towing and Impound - towing fee approximately $100 plus additional daily storage fees
• DUI School – at your expense
• Insurance –As a designated “high risk” driver, your insurance company will raise your rates significantly. Expect your insurance rates to double or more for several years.
• Record – DUI conviction will remain on driving record permanently
• Employment – offender may lose time off work and possibly even their job.
• Immigration and travel – restrictions can apply with certain convictions
• Vehicle – possible vehicle seizure and forfeiture
Additional offenses will bring significantly higher penalties, up to 5 years in prison and $5,000 in fines. Don’t take a chance with your freedom. It is highly recommended that you contact a qualified local DUI attorney right away for a FREE CONSULTATION on your case. It's possible for your case tobe won with the right representation.