Articles Posted in MS DUI Law

An ap report out of Charleston, West Virginia on July 21, 2022, indicates that a man has been charged with a felony in connection with a drunk driving wreck that resulted in the death of an unborn child. Often, we hear of people getting charged with and convicted of a double homicide when the victim is a pregnant woman because the offender is being punished for ending the life of the mother as well as the unborn child. It seems much less often that an expecting mother is injured by someone committing a criminal act resulting in the death of the unborn child. In West Virginia the penalty for a DUI resulting in an injury to someone other than the intoxicated driver is no less than a day in jail and no more than a year, making it a misdemeanor offense. For an offense to be considered a felony it must carry a possible sentence of more than a year in prison. The penalty for a DUI resulting in the death of another in west Virginia is a minimum of two years in prison and a maximum of ten, making it a felony. DUI resulting in a death is the charge being pursued against this West Virginia man for the death of the unborn child, not the DUI resulting in injury to the mother.  

 What Are Mississippi’s DUI Penalties for Injury or Death Laws?  

 Mississippi’s DUI laws are much more aggressive than the West Virginia laws. We should first look to the Mississippi code to determine what “driving under the influence” really means. The statute makes clear that in Mississippi it is illegal to operate a vehicle while under the influence of intoxicating liquor, under the influence of any other substance that has impaired the person’s ability to operate a motor vehicle, under the influence of any controlled substance, or has a blood alcohol or breath alcohol concentration of 0.08 and above. Note that there are no exceptions for legal prescriptions in the driver’s name and that driver may still be found to be under the influence of their legal prescription even if they have a bac of below 0.08. According to the Mississippi code, any person driving under the influence that negligently causes a serious injury or death to another may be sentenced to prison for a minimum of five years and a maximum of twenty-five years for each person injured or killed. Since this drunk driving accident resulted in the death of the unborn child and serious injury to the mother, under Mississippi law, he could be facing fifty years in prison.   

DUI laws are specific in Mississippi, and each case can be interpreted in different ways according to these laws. Some DUIs are considered minimal offenses, while others may result in serious criminal consequences. There are so many factors that may affect your sentence – to the point where it almost seems like each DUI is unique. These factors include property damage, injuries, aggravating factors, the way you interacted with police, and many more. Sometimes, the best way to get a sense of DUI laws in Mississippi is to examine some real-world examples.  

 If you have been charged with a DUI in Mississippi, it makes sense to get in touch with an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Whether you are facing a light sentence, many years in prison, or anything in between, your lawyer can help you strive for the best possible results. With our help, you can develop a targeted defense strategy based on your unique circumstances. The sooner you get in touch with a defense attorney, the better.  

 2nd DUI, Possession of Controlled Substances 

Distracted driving is a dangerous activity to undertake, and the modernization of the cell phone has made the issue worse by providing every driver the ability to surf the internet, make phone calls, text, and stream music or podcasts. This coupled with the fact that almost 303 million people in the United States own cell phones means that the opportunities to be distracted behind the wheel are seemingly endless. Not only are our roads much more dangerous, but also Mississippi drivers are opened up to criminal liability.  

 According to King 5 News out of Seattle, Washington, King County recently celebrated the five-year anniversary of their Electronic DUI law which completely bans the use of cellphones while behind the wheel of a vehicle, even at a stop sign or a red light. According to the head of the king county target zero task force, distracted driving is the third leading cause of wrecks behind speeding and impairment due to alcohol or drugs which is why they saw fit to enact legislation that would subject distracted drivers to criminal liability in the same way that other impaired drivers are charged.  

 The electronic dui law has seemed to work. As traffic accidents due to distracted drivers has continuously declined year over year. In 2017, the last year before the e-dui law took effect, 13,758 crashes occurred in king county, Washington due to distracted driving which dwarfs the 4,988 crashes seen in 2021. According to the Washington traffic safety commission, 30% of crash fatalities are a result of distracted driving and drivers are three times as likely to get in an accident when they are talking on the phone. While the law seems to be having the desired effect, the fact remains that another law banning a certain behavior opens each individual up to more possibility to be criminally charged and convicted for committing what most people think is a safe act, like checking some email notification before the light turns green. 

       Independence Day, more commonly known as the “Fourth of July”, is one of the nation’s most respected and popular national holidays. People across the country celebrate amongst family and friends, with hot dogs and burgers over the grill, usually with a soda or ice-cold beer. Additionally, it is very common for people to travel to lakes, beaches, or any body of water to cool off in the overbearing July heat.   

 The Downside of the Fourth of July Holiday 

        However, the week of the holiday is not only known for its celebrations, but also for the number of DUI’s and fatal car crashes that occur. Considering the amount of travel that people do over the holiday week, along with the type of celebrations that are happening, it is no wonder why there is an increase in DUI’s and fatal car crashes. 

      When hearing about driving under the influence charges, people likely associate or relate it to people in their own lives, friends, or family who have faced similar charges. However, DUI charges effect people without regard to their age, sex, financial standing, or social status. DUI’s affect all walks of life, from bankers, to teachers, to students. The only difference is that many feel that they must plead guilty just because the police stopped them, while others seek out the help of a qualified DUI defense attorney.  

      Though having money to pay for representation does play a part in the decision to seek legal help, many law offices have DUI attorney’s at different price points. In fact, according to Lawyers.com, the national average for the cost difference is 1000$ more with a private attorney versus a public defender or self-representation. Additionally, Private attorneys have substantially higher success rates and clients enjoy a higher client satisfaction rating, more than triple when compared with the services of a public defender. https://www.lawyers.com/legal-info/criminal/dui-dwi/does-using-a-dui-lawyer-give-you-a-better-outcome.html  

 
      The people with the most power and prestige always seek representation for a DUI charge, so it is fair to assume they feel that having private representation is worth it.  Just in 2022, there have been a string of DUI charges for high profile and high society individuals and all of them have qualified legal representation to fight their case.  

Traditionally, the penalty for Driving Under the Influence is similar across the country. A person will usually be faced with jail, costly fines, and court costs. When the charge is elevated due to circumstances such as death or serious bodily injury, the penalties dramatically increase to a felony conviction. However, recently there have been changes in certain states that may pave the way for the future of DUI penalties.

A Tennessee bill that would require drunk drivers to pay child support if they killed a parent of a minor due to intoxication or aggravated vehicular homicide, has passed through the state’s legislature. The bill is named “Ethan, Hailey, and Bently’s Law” after children who lost their parents to intoxicated drivers. Ethan and Hailey are the children of a former Chattanooga police officer who was struck and killed by a drunk driver. The other name in the bill, Bently, is the name of the grandson of a Missouri woman who’s son had been killed by a drunk driver.

The thought process behind the bill is that long-term, financially tangible, penalty’s may act as a better deterrent than the current penalties on the books.

A government job can be exceedingly rewarding, providing job security, decent pay, and a range of notable benefits. Losing that job can be a real blow, especially if you have mouths to feed. So, what happens if you get a DUI in Mississippi? Could you lose your government job? This is what many government workers ask themselves after driving while intoxicated, and it is a legitimate concern.

If you are worried about losing your government job after being charged with a DUI, you need to get in touch with a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. With our assistance, you can fight for your rights and your employment. The truth of the matter is that your DUI charge does not necessarily need to result in your termination, but you need to work with an experienced defense lawyer if you are serious about keeping your job. It is best to book your consultation as soon as possible to achieve the results you want.

The First DUI is Usually Forgiven

What is a field sobriety test?

Field Sobriety Tests are preliminary tests used by police officers to determine if a driver is impaired. The tests assign tasks that assess the driver’s balance, coordination, and ability to divide attention to more than one task during the field sobriety test. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration approves three field sobriety tests applied nationally. The tests include the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus, Walk and Turn, and the One Leg Stand Test.

How are field sobriety tests are performed, and what is being tested?

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 1.5 million people are arrested in the United States for being under the influence of alcohol every year. If you have ever found yourself arrested/convicted for DUI, then you are aware of what kind of affects it can have on your life. A first offense DUI charge for an offender in Mississippi is a fine up to $1,000.00 plus cost of court and even possibly a jail sentence for up to 48 hours. However, there are several contributing factors that can result in a false positive when conducting a breath test.

How is an offender’s breath alcohol level measured?

The most common breath test used by law enforcement officers in the field is the handheld portable breath test. This device measures a single breath test by blowing into a tube that then produces a whistle sound. This reaction produces an electrical current that then triggers the indicator’s lights on the device.

I have a Mississippi Medical Cannabis Card, can I still be charged with a DUI due to being under the influence marijuana?

Yes, approved medical cannabis/marijuana cardholders can still be charged with a DUI for driving a vehicle under the influence of marijuana. Additionally, the operation of a watercraft while under the influence of marijuana is also a BUI (Boating Under the Influence) chargeable offense. In the state’s passing of the Mississippi Medical Cannabis Act, the DUI laws under Section 63-11-30 and Section 59-23-7 were amended to include the act as being fully a part of and subject to the same driving under the influence rules. That means that the same rules and penalties apply if you are suspected of driving under the influence of marijuana, even if you have a medical marijuana card.

When did Mississippi legalize medical marijuana?

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