The state of Mississippi criminalizes acts in which a driver disobeys the rules of the road. Violations range in severity - some are considered relatively minor while others are treated as serious infractions with sizable penalties. If you have been charged with a traffic violation in Northern Mississippi, it is in your best interest to contact a criminal defense attorney to fight the ticket and protect your driving record.
An accumulation of convicted traffic violations within a 12-month period could result in the suspension of your driver's license. Many depend on their ability to drive so they can commute to and from work and/or conduct other activities that require transportation from point A to point B. When a convicted traffic violation is compounded with a previous criminal record, the chances of license suspension increase dramatically in Mississippi. In addition, you face hefty fines, court fees, and surcharges. The fine will vary based on your county court. Any convictions on your driving record will be visible to potential employers and insurance providers.
Mississippi Traffic Violations
Mississippi statutes recognize the following acts as unlawful and subject to penalty:
- Refusing to comply with any lawful order or direction of any police officer with authority to direct, control, or regulate traffic;
- Failing to wear a seat belt;
- Violating right-of-way;
- Disobeying traffic-control signs;
- Driving in a way that demonstrates willful disregard for the safety of people or property (reckless driving);
- Violating child safety seat laws;
- Failing to purchase car insurance;
- Operating a vehicle under circumstances that interfere with driver's view or control over driving mechanism (passenger are also not allowed to ride in a way that obstructs the driver's view);
- Throwing any glass bottle, glass, nails, tacks, wire, cans, or any other substance likely to injure any person, animal, or vehicle on a highway;
- Making unlawful turns; and
- Registering the vehicle improperly.
Does Mississippi Have a Point System?
41 states employ what is known as a "point system," in which specific traffic offenses are assigned points. Once you exceed a certain number of points, your license is suspended.
Mississippi is one of 9 states that does not use a point system. However, each subsequent traffic violation will carry harsher penalties, including the aforementioned license suspension. If you are convicted and your license is suspended, you will not be able to get your license reinstated until you satisfy all of the state's requirements. If you do not fight a traffic violation charge at the outset with a skilled Mississippi defense attorney, the reinstatement of your license will be a long, arduous and costly experience. Your best tactic is to fight the citation head-on, from the very beginning, and not deal with the consequences as they come.
When Do I Need a Lawyer for A Traffic Violation?
Many people do not want to go through the perceived hassle of fighting a ticket. The path of least resistance - paying the fine and not appearing in court - seems like the easiest way to handle the situation. However, chronically resorting to this method could wreak havoc on your driving record as well as your insurance premiums. In the absence of a point system that lets you keep track of exactly how close you are to potential suspension, you never know if your latest traffic violation will be the 'tipping point' at which the state revokes your license. To combat this uncertainty and protect your driving privileges, you are advised to consult with an attorney versed in Mississippi traffic law. Disputing a citation is not easily done without adequate knowledge of the law, and you are far better off not going at it alone.
Some tickets mandate a court appearance, in which case the need for an attorney is all the more pressing. Violations requiring court appearances are more serious in nature, and you will want an attorney present to combat the penalties that the court will seek to impose. The date of your court appearance will be specified on your ticket. If you cannot make your court date, it is critical that you communicate this to the court so that the date can be rescheduled. If you fail to do so, a warrant could be issued for your arrest.
The presence of an attorney lets the presiding judge know you are taking the violation very seriously. The court favorably views good presentation, respectful behavior and other indications that you are serious about rectifying the situation. An attorney will provide you with necessary information about your unique violation, how trial procedures unfold, and the best defense strategies to employ in your case.
A trial provides space for you and your attorney to fight the citation before a judge or jury. You will enter a plea of "not guilty"and your Mississippi defense attorney will mount a defense on your behalf.
Penalties for Common Mississippi Traffic Violations
Knowledge is one of the best things you can arm yourself with when you have been accused of a crime. Below are the penalties you face for common traffic violations.
Speeding and Moving Violations
The penalties and fines for speeding and moving violations will vary based on county and the unique circumstances of the violation. However, a conviction on this count will be immediately reported to the Mississippi Driver Services Division and added to your driving record.
Per § 63-3-1201: 1st Conviction: A fine of not less than Five Dollars ($5.00) or not more than One Hundred Dollars ($100.00). 2nd Conviction: Imprisonment for not more than ten (10) days, a fine not to exceed Five Hundred Dollars ($500.00), or by both.
Per § 63-3-1213. Every person convicted of careless driving shall be punished by a fine of not less than Five Dollars ($5.00) or not more than Fifty Dollars ($ 50.00).
Per § 63-3-1215. A person convicted of drag rising will be subject to a fine not to exceed One Thousand Dollars ($1,000.00), imprisonment not more than six (6) months, or both.
Comprehensive Traffic Violation Criminal Defense Lawyer in Mississippi
Contact William Wayne Housley today so that he can begin to scrutinize your charges and create a defense on your behalf.