Articles Posted in MS DUI Law

As with all States, everyone is equal under the law in Mississippi. This includes not only average motorists but also Councilwomen, sheriffs, and other officials. In the past few weeks, many of these officials have been charged with DUI-related offenses, proving that no one gets special treatment. These defendants arguably face more serious consequences than average motorists due to the high-profile nature of their jobs. A single DUI offense can be enough to end a political or law-enforcement career. What can you do if you face a DUI charge in Mississippi?

Wayne County Sheriff Arrested for DUI and Reckless Driving

On March 11, 2024, it was reported that a former Wayne County Sheriff had been arrested on suspicion of drunk driving and reckless driving. Although this individual had previously retired from the force back in 2023, it is unlikely that he will ever return. The individual was spotted driving in what police say was a “reckless fashion” in Waynesboro. Police then pulled him over and concluded that he was driving under the influence. 

Test results are crucial in proving DUIs. If the authorities fail to obtain results that suggest intoxication, it is difficult for them to convict alleged drunk drivers. Not all DUI tests are the same. Two of the most common types are breath tests and blood tests. When defending yourself against DUI allegations, it may help to understand the differences between these two tests. Which test is more accurate? Can you refuse either test? How can a DUI defense attorney in Mississippi help you avoid charges despite convincing test results? 

Blood Tests are More Accurate Than Breathalyzer Tests

Generally speaking, blood tests are more accurate compared to breathalyzer tests. In addition, they can test for a wider range of substances. Aside from detecting alcohol, a blood test can identify illegal or prescription drugs. When you take a blood test, few substances will fall under the radar.

While there are many aggravating factors associated with DUIs in Mississippi, perhaps one of the most notable involves child endangerment. If you had a child in your vehicle at the time of your DUI arrest, you face enhanced penalties that can be quite severe. It is obviously in your best interests to fight these charges in the most effective way possible – but how exactly do you accomplish this goal? With the right defense strategy, this might be easier than you realize. With that said, it is important to realize that the most appropriate defense strategy depends entirely on the unique circumstances surrounding your arrest – and it’s always best to consult with an attorney. 

The Passenger Was Not a Child

If the circumstances regarding the underlying DUI offense seem impossible to fight, it may be worth establishing that there was no child in your vehicle at the time of your DUI. Many police officers take a quick look inside vehicles and determine an occupant’s age simply by glancing at them. However, this is not an accurate way of determining a child’s age. Some children look much younger than they actually are, and some look much older. Sometimes, the easiest way to beat a DUI child endangerment offense is to simply provide the court with a copy of the minor’s birth certificate. 

In the complex landscape of criminal law, defending individuals charged with driving under the influence (DUI) requires a comprehensive approach. One crucial aspect that can significantly impact the outcome of DUI cases is the testimony of expert witnesses. Expert witnesses play a pivotal role in DUI defense by providing specialized knowledge and objective analysis. In this blog, we will delve into the importance of expert witnesses and how their testimony can shape the defense strategy in DUI cases.

Understanding Expert Witnesses 

Expert witnesses are professionals with specialized knowledge, training, education, or experience in a particular field relevant to the case at hand. In DUI defense, expert witnesses can include toxicologists, forensic chemists, accident reconstruction experts, field sobriety test specialists, and more. These individuals possess the expertise necessary to examine scientific evidence, evaluate the reliability of law enforcement procedures, and provide professional opinions regarding the defendant’s sobriety, the accuracy of test results, and any potential errors or inconsistencies.

South Carolina is taking stricter measures to combat drunk driving, potentially creating a larger number of drivers who will have to use ignition interlock devices. These devices are breath-analysis systems integrated into a vehicle’s electrical system to prevent individuals under the influence from starting the car until they pass a breath test with a blood-alcohol level below 0.02%.

Here are the key points:

  1. Expansion of the Program: South Carolina recently updated its laws, requiring anyone convicted of a DUI with a blood alcohol level of 0.08% to install an ignition interlock device. This represents a significant expansion from the previous requirement, which applied to those with a blood alcohol level of 0.15% or repeat offenders.

Halloween is a wild night for many – representing an opportunity to embrace the spookiness and our darker sides. However, the rule of law does not suddenly cease to exist on Halloween night. On the morning of November 1, many people wake up and are confronted with the consequences of their activities during the previous night. There are endless possibilities when it comes to criminal charges after Halloween night, and people of all ages may experience consequences for their actions.

Crime Statistics on Halloween

According to various reports, violent crime rates increase by about 50% above the daily average on Halloween. In addition, pedestrian deaths are much more common on Halloween night for obvious reasons. With more pedestrians on the streets, it is easier for trick-or-treaters to be struck and killed by vehicles.

According to the National Safety Council, about 450 people die on US roads over the Labor Day holiday each year. 41% of these fatalities involve an alcohol-impaired driver. But why is Labor Day such a dangerous weekend for driving? What is it about this holiday that leads to such a high level of intoxicated driving? Perhaps most importantly, what should you do if you have been accused of a DUI over the Labor Day weekend?

Mississippi Highway Patrol Makes 141 DUI Arrests Over Labor Day Weekend

On September 5, it was reported that the Mississippi Highway Patrol had arrested over 140 DUI suspects over the preceding Labor Day Weekend. They also reported four confirmed deaths related to auto crashes. However, this represents a notable decline compared with 2022, when the MHP made over 270 DUI arrests over the Labor Day Weekend. However, there were only three auto deaths that year.

Police have one mission in their role as officers—to serve and protect. As officers of the law, we look to the police in times of need to help and keep us safe. For some, an encounter with the police may invoke feelings of nervousness or fear, regardless of circumstance. Here are some general things to know about being stopped by police regarding your rights.

If stopped in your car, here are some things to know. Officers cannot legally pull you over without probable cause. Probable cause means there is a very good reason to believe a person has committed a crime, or that evidence of a crime can be found in a specific space. Some examples of this include suspicious behavior that a driver is under the influence, swerving, or a clear violation of the law. If pulled over, it is important to comply with the officer and remember the stated reason for pulling you over.

When stopped, be sure to quickly pull your car over in a safe, well-lit place. You can pre-emptively roll down the window, and have your driver’s license, registration, and proof of insurance ready to show the officer should they ask. If an officer asks to look inside your car, you can refuse to consent to the search unless they have a warrant. However, if police believe your car contains evidence of a crime, your car can be searched without your consent.  Same as being pulled over, officers must have probable cause to search your car, such as smelling drugs or alcohol, or seeing open beer bottles, firearms, or drug paraphernalia in plain view.

In Illinois, State senator Steve McClure (R-Springfield), has introduced Senate Bill 1405, also called “Lindsey’s Law”. The motivating factor being this legislator’s desire to toughen law for impaired drivers who kill and injure others is the death of a Springfield woman in 2015. The bill would allow authorities to charge intoxicated drivers with a Class 2 felony if they kill someone while also causing great bodily harm, permanent disability or disfigurement of others while driving a motor vehicle, snowmobile, all-terrain vehicle, or watercraft. A Class 2 felony is punishable by a term of imprisonment of not less than four years and not more than 20 years.

26 year old Lindsey Sharp was hit and killed by a drunken driver in the parking lot of a Springfield Walmart in June 2015. In her memory, McClure has introduced the legislation more than once. “I am doing this for Lindsey’s mom. For her, this is personal. Lindsey’s son, who was severely injured, and her boyfriend, received no justice. It’s wrong for the second and third victims to not get justice,” McClure said. “This issue is being driven by her family; it’s not something I just thought up. We will keep fighting for it and hopefully it will pass this session,” McClure said. “It’s important to them and they want to see a horrible situation made as right as it can be.” 

McClure has passed the same bill on at least 3 separate occasions, in hopes of honoring Lindsey’s life. Each time, according to McClure, the bill gets bottled up in committee. The latest version of the bill was referred to the Senate Special Committee on Criminal Law and Public Safety. “If it were called to committee, I believe it would pass. This is a common sense bill. I believe there is wide support for it, but the problem is getting it out of committee and if you have one person who doesn’t want something out of committee, they will hold it up,” McClure said.

Food Cooked in Alcohol Can Land You in Trouble 

You enjoy eating meals with wine reductions and desserts soaked in rum. You like to try anything with alcohol, but you always believed that when cooked and eaten in food, alcohol was no longer a concern. The truth is much more complicated. Foods that are mixed with alcohol may end up with an alcohol content, but they may also retain enough alcohol that you could become legally under the influence after a few servings. Let’s say hypothetically that you went out to eat with friends and made sure you didn’t drink, because you had to be the one to drive home sober. Not long after you started your drive home, you noticed that you weren’t feeling quite right. Shortly thereafter, a police officer pulled you over to the side of the road. He asked you to complete a Breathalyzer test and you agreed, because you knew you hadn’t had anything to drink that evening. To your surprise, you were shocked when the results came back indicting that your blood alcohol content (BAC) was over .08 percent. Interestingly, you can get legally intoxicated from eating food made with alcohol. 

Don’t fall for the myth of food-based alcohol sobriety

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