The drunk driving laws in Mississippi are designed to protect other drivers from people who may drink and then get behind the wheel. The law also requires that you submit to a chemical test such as a breathalyzer or BAC (blood alcohol content), and if you refuse you will lose your license for a minimum time period of 90 days.
Failing the test also gets your license suspended, but it is possible to get a driving permit that will allow you to continue to drive until your trial date. If you are found not guilty, your driving privileges will be reinstated. If you are found guilty, you may have a longer license suspension, and there can be fines and other legal action, including jail time.
How Serious is a First Offense?
It can be easy to misjudge how much you have had to drink, and you don't want a great party to turn into a big problem by getting a DUI on your way home. If it's your first offense in Mississippi, you can generally expect:
- A fine of between $250 and $1,000 plus the court costs
- Up to 48 hours in jail
- An ignition interlock device for 6 months
- An alcohol education program that you must pay for and complete
- A license suspension
You may receive all of these consequences or just some of them, depending on your specific circumstances and the judge who hears your case. Another determining factor when it comes to the license suspension is whether you agreed to the chemical test or refused it.
What About Second and Later Offenses?
A second offense is still a misdemeanor just like a first offense, but with stronger penalties. These include:
- Up to a year in jail, with a minimum of 5 days jail time
- Up to $1,500 in fines plus court costs
- A letter indicating that conviction of a third offense means you will forfeit your vehicle
- An alcohol treatment program
- Community service lasting between 10 days and 1 year
Additional violations will bring even stronger penalties, including the loss of your vehicle, a license suspension for up to two years, and more. but that is not the only problem you will face if convicted. There can be personal and professional costs that occur, as well.
What Other Issues Do People Face When Convicted?
If you have been convicted of DUI in Mississippi, you could be struggling with more than just fines and jail time. You will generally also see a lot of insurance companies that raise their rates or drop customers when they have a DUI on their record. Finding an insurance company that will cover you after a DUI, or more than one DUI, can become difficult, and sometimes the price is simply too much to afford. Anyone who drives for their business may also lose their job if they receive a DUI conviction, which is important to consider as well.
When you have been arrested for a DUI, you need a good legal advocate on your side. An arrest is not a conviction, and the goal is to make sure that a conviction is avoided. While that can't always be achieved, having the right attorney can make a difference when it comes to a conviction and what kind of penalties are received.
To get help with your DUI arrest, contact William Wayne Housley today. The sooner you begin working with an attorney the sooner you can appeal any license suspension and begin working toward having your charges lowered or dropped so you can get back to living your life.