Mississippi DUIs and DWIs
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Drivers can incur severe DUI consequences in Mississippi if they violate the state DUI laws, as both the state courts and the Department of Public Safety (DPS) impose harsh penalties in these cases. The severity of the MS DUI penalties is the result of the efforts of law enforcement agencies to reduce the negative impact of alcohol on the safety of drivers within the state. Those who commit a DUI for a first or subsequent time are subjected to a specific jail sentence. Learn how to handle DUI charges in Mississippi and reduce the risk of violating the state driving laws by reading the following sections.
Mississippi DUI Citations and Convictions
Drivers ticketed for violating Mississippi impaired driving laws will be charged with driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol or drugs. Upon a DWI arrest, the offender will be requested to submit to a breath or chemical test to determine his or her blood alcohol content (BAC) level. He or she will receive an MS DWI ticket for refusal to comply with the officer’s request or failure of the test. In these cases, the driver’s license will be confiscated and kept until the set court trial date. Those convicted of a DUI violation will have the offense recorded on their driver’s record, their license will be suspended and they will be required to pay steep fines.
Mississippi Under the Influence Violations and Penalties
The potential Mississippi DUI penalties administered after getting a DUI ticket within the state are determined based on the driver’s age and whether or not he or she has previously committed similar offenses. Motorists will incur more severe impaired driving consequences if they violate additional DUI-related laws as well. For example, if you commit a DUI violation in MS that involves the death of another individual, you may even be punished with a jail term of 25 years.
First DUI Offense
Convictions of first DUI offenses in Mississippi lead to fines of $250 to $1,000 and driving license suspensions of up to 1 year. Note that first suspensions can be reduced to 90 days by completing the mandatory drunk driving traffic school program, as ordered by the presiding court. Drivers who commit their first DUI violation in MS will also be penalized with a jail sentence of up to 48 hours.
Second DUI Offense
Second DUI convictions within 5 years of an initial conviction result in $600 to $1,000 in fines and a license suspension of 2 years. Second-time offenders can reduce their license suspension period to 1 year if they complete an alcohol and/or drug abuse treatment program. The jail sentence issued in this type of case will not be less than 10 days.
Third DUI Offense
Violating the Mississippi DWI laws for a third or subsequent time within 5 years of the previous two is a felony offense that generally leads to fines of up to $5,000 and a license suspension of up to 5 years. Third or subsequent DUI offenses will also result in imprisonment terms of 1 to 5 years and the seizure of the offender’s vehicles.
While Mississippi underage DUI offenses are not sanctioned with jail sentences, drivers younger than 21 years old who violate the state drunk driving laws will still be subjected to certain penalties. The state penalizes first-time offenders with 90-day license suspensions, $250 fines and the mandatory participation in an alcohol safety education program. Young motorists who commit multiple DUI offenses in MS will be penalized with greater punishments. Third or subsequent convictions, for instance, will result in a license suspension of 2 years or until the offender turns 21 years old.
Drinking and Driving in Mississippi
The risk of committing a DUI offense in Mississippi increases proportionally with the amount of alcohol and/or drugs in a driver’s system, as intoxicants greatly affect an individual’s ability to safely operate a motor vehicle. DUI violations committed by intoxicated drivers often result in injuries and/or death of other passengers, drivers and pedestrians. Therefore, state law enforcement agencies regulate strict laws for the purposes of reducing the number of casualties in DUI-related accidents. The state DPS and the presiding court will sanction DUI offenders with a combination of steep fines, jail sentences and lengthy license suspensions.
Mississippi DUI Attorneys
Drivers charged with DUI in Mississippi often arrange for a professional DUI defense with the assistance of a DUI lawyer that specializes in this specific area of the law. Motorists who hire a DUI lawyer in MS will increase their chances of reducing sentences and penalties that typically result from an offense.
In addition to presenting your case in court, your DUI attorney can help you understand the penalties that you may potentially incur and advise you on the best course of action in such cases. However, prior to seeking help from an attorney, consult with several professionals in your area to ensure you hire a lawyer that has the skills and experience necessary to handle your case.
Reinstating a Suspended Drivers License in Mississippi
Motorists who are completing a Mississippi DUI drivers license suspension or revocation will regain their driving privileges only after finalizing the corresponding reinstatement procedure with the state Department of Public Safety. Regardless of the type of DUI violation committed, drivers are required to meet several restoration requirements imposed by both the state DPS and the presiding court.
To successfully reinstate a DUI suspended license in MS, you will generally have to fulfill the following conditions:
- Complete any administrative and/or court-ordered suspension or revocation.
- Participate in a DUI traffic school course (if required).
- Clear your record with the court that issued the conviction.
- Submit proof of a valid car insurance coverage (if required).
- Pay the applicable DPS reinstatement fee.
Mississippi Alcohol Awareness Classes
One of the potential DUI consequences in Mississippi is mandatory participation in DUI classes within the state. State courts require drivers with their first conviction to enroll in a Mississippi Alcohol Safety Education Program (MASEP) course when the conviction is reported on their driving transcripts. By doing so, motorists will learn about the DUI laws regulated within the state and the effects of intoxicants on their safe driving practices.
Mississippi SR-22 Insurance
Submitting proof of the proper DUI insurance in Mississippi is a requirement that must be met when reinstating a suspended license within the state. As a certificate of a valid insurance policy, motorists will be required to maintain an active SR-22 form with the DPS for a period of 3 years from the date of the violation. The minimum coverage on insurance for DUI drivers in MS must be at least $5,000 for property damages, $10,000 for the injuries or death of one individual and $20,000 for multiple individuals. Drivers have a limited amount of time to furnish proof of insurance once convictions are reported on their record.
Mississippi Laws That Pertain to DUI/DWI
To avoid DUI charges in Mississippi, drivers must abide by the state impaired driving laws. Under the implied consent law, motorists can incur an MS DWI ticket if they are apprehended for operating a vehicle with a BAC level of .08 percent or larger. However, per the state zero tolerance law, drivers younger than 21 years of age will be sanctioned even for a BAC level lower than .08 percent. Young licensees will be effectively committing an underage DUI violation if their BAC level is as low as .02 percent.
Hardship License in Mississippi
Drivers who are completing a Mississippi DUI drivers license suspension or revocation are prohibited from operating a motor vehicle within the state for the duration of the penalty period. In certain cases, however, motorists with a suspended license may be eligible to apply for a hardship license, which will grant them the privilege to drive to and from specific destinations.
Licensees who are completing their DWI conviction-related suspension can request a hardship license through the court that processed their case after completing at least 30 days of their suspension. To learn more about the application process and the eligibility requirements for a hardship license in Mississippi, contact the state DPS or the presiding court.