Finding A DUI Lawyer in Mississippi
Driving under the influence (DUI) is a serious offense in Mississippi. If you’ve been charged with a DUI in Mississippi it is imperative that you find a top-rated DUI lawyer in Mississippi to protect your rights. To avoid a conviction, it is also important to understand the laws surrounding DUI arrests in the state.
A Mississippi DUI conviction can result in severe consequences, including fines, license suspension, and even jail time. In this article, we will explore the rate of DUI arrests in Mississippi over the past few years and how hiring a Mississippi DUI lawyer can help you beat a DUI charge.
DUI Arrest Rates in Mississippi
According to the Mississippi Office of Highway Safety, there were 6,665 DUI arrests in Mississippi in 2021. This marks an increase from the 5,552 DUI arrests made in 2019. Mississippi’s DUI arrest rates have risen consistently over the past few years. The Mississippi Department of Public Safety reported a steady 5% year-on-year increase in DUI arrests from 2019 to 2023.
This upward trend reflects the state’s rigorous enforcement efforts, with stricter laws and enhanced roadside checks aimed at curbing drunk driving. The majority of DUI arrests in Mississippi occur in Hinds County, followed by Harrison and DeSoto Counties.
Penalties for DUI in Mississippi
What happens if I’m convicted of a DUI in Mississippi? The short answer is nothing good. Mississippi law outlines severe penalties for DUI offenses, intending to deter potential offenders. The severity of the penalties escalates with each subsequent conviction, reflecting the state’s zero-tolerance stance towards drunk driving.
The following is a general overview of the penalties for DUI in Mississippi:
First Offense DUI in Mississippi
For a first offense, the offender can face a fine of up to $1,000, mandatory alcohol safety education, up to 48 hours in jail, and a 120-day administrative license suspension. CDL drivers convicted of driving under the influence will have their commercial driver’s license suspended for 1 year.
Second Offense DUI in Mississippi
For a second-offense DUI charge, Mississippi has a 5-year lookback period. If the second drunk driving charge occurs within 5 years of the first, then harsher penalties will apply. A 2nd-in-5 drunk driving charge can include a fine of up to $1,500, a 1-year license suspension (but may be as long as 2 years), jail time for as long as 1 year, and mandatory completion of an alcohol safety education program.
A CDL holder will have their CDL privileges revoked for 55 years.
Third Offense DUI in Mississippi
A third offense drunk driving charge in Mississippi will utilize the same 5-year lookback period. If someone is charged with a third DUI within 5 years, this charge will be classified as a felony DUI.
A 3rd-in-5 drunk driving charge can include a $5,000 fine, up to 5 years in prison, a license suspension for the full term of someone’s sentence (regardless of the time they actually serve), and mandatory completion of an alcohol safety education program. Once released from prison, someone may only be eligible for an ignition interlock-restricted license for 3 years from the time their sentence has ended.
A CDL holder will have their CDL privileges revoked for the rest of their life.
Fourth Offense DUI in Mississippi
A fourth or subsequent DUI charge in Mississippi has a lifetime lookback period. This means it will entail the same punishments regardless of the time since the last DUI charge. This DUI charge will also be classified as a felony.
The sentence may include a $10,000 fine, a minimum of 2 years in prison (but may be as long as 10 years), and a license revocation for the full term of the prison sentence (regardless of the time actually served).
Once someone is eligible for a license again, the license will be limited to an ignition interlock-restricted license for 10 years. If a CDL holder is convicted of a 4th lifetime DUI offense, then their CDL will be revoked for their lifetime (if it hasn’t been revoked already).
It is important to note that these penalties are a general overview and that the specific penalties for DUI in Mississippi may vary depending on the circumstances of the case.
Ignition Interlock Devices
In addition to the above penalties, Mississippi also requires the installation of an ignition interlock device (IID) for some DUI offenders. According to Mississippi §63-11-31, the court may order an ignition interlock device installed on every vehicle operated by a person who is non-adjudicated or found guilty of driving under the influence in Mississippi. An IID is a device that is installed in a vehicle that requires the driver to blow into it before the car will start. If the device detects alcohol on the driver’s breath, the car will be prevented from starting.
In Mississippi, an IID is required for:
- Second and subsequent DUI offenses
- First offense with a BAC of 0.16 or higher
- First offense with a passenger under the age of 16 in the vehicle
The cost of installing and maintaining an IID can be substantial, and it is important to discuss the potential requirement of an IID with your Mississippi DUI lawyer. To learn more about IIDs, read our full article on the specifics of ignition interlock devices.
How a Mississippi DUI Lawyer Can Help You Beat a DUI Charge
One of the main ways that a Mississippi DUI lawyer can help you beat a DUI charge is by investigating the circumstances surrounding your arrest. This includes reviewing the police evidence such as breathalyzer test results, blood tests, urine tests, or any other evidence that may have been gathered by the arresting officer.
Your Mississippi DUI lawyer may also question the officer’s actions during the arrest, such as whether they had probable cause to stop you in the first place or if they followed proper procedure during the arrest.
Additionally, a Mississippi DUI lawyer may challenge the evidence against you. This includes questioning the accuracy of the breathalyzer test or challenging the field sobriety test. They may also bring up any mitigating factors that could lessen the severity of your offense. For example, if you had a medical condition that affected the test results or if there were extenuating circumstances during a DUI arrest.
Top Mississippi DUI Lawyers
If you have been charged with drunk driving in Mississippi, it is essential to hire a DUI lawyer in Mississippi. An experienced Mississippi DUI lawyer can provide you with the legal guidance and representation you need to help you beat your DUI charge.
More Mississippi DUI Resources
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