One must take notice of the significant changes made to the DUI law by Senate Bill 2778 that was signed by the governor and takes effect on October 1, 2016.
The change of most importance perhaps is the creation of new felony DUI crimes. A fourth DUI conviction will be a felony. While a third offense DUI requires that all three occur within a 5 year time frame, no such restriction applies for a fourth offense DUI. The fourth conviction would only require that one has been convicted of three prior DUI offenses in his or her lifetime. Also, the punishment has been delineated as a fine between $3,000 and $10,000 and a sentence ranging from 2 to 10 years with the Mississippi Department of Corrections.
Those with commercial driver's license should also take note. For an individual with a CDL, the charge for DUI with a blood alcohol content of .08% and greater would be subject to the charge of felony and the sentence would be between 2 to 10 years with the Mississippi Department of Corrections.
The maximum sentence of incarceration for a second offense DUI conviction has been reduce from one year to six months.
In addition, changes to the ignition interlock requirements and suspensions of driver's licenses have been increased. Suspensions of license will now run consecutively rather than concurrently. That means that where an individual refuses to take a breath or blood test, the administrative suspension of 90 days or 1 year will run separately from any suspension required by a conviction of DUI.
Where the trend continues, and likely it will, the blood alcohol content will be dropped from .08% down to .05%. The present legislature seems driven to increase the penalties relative to all things DUI. The National Transportation Safety Board is already considering the blood alcohol change. Do not drink and drive. If you choose to drink and drive and you do get caught, you will need an attorney to represent your best interest. Call me at 662-844-5635.