Articles Posted in MS DUI Law

Getting pulled over by law enforcement can be nerve-wracking. Like many drivers at a traffic stop, you often may have no idea why an officer pulled you over or what will happen to you next.

When an officer starts asking questions about your activities earlier in the evening, you may worry that the next step will be a field sobriety tests, especially if you were unsure if you were ok to drive. In general, there are three tests’ officers will use to decide if they should investigate the driver further.

What are the officers looking for during the three main field sobriety tests?

According to WSAZ News Channel, A school bus driver has been arrested by West Virginia State Police following an accident back in September of 2022. Six students were injured and sent to the hospital after a crash in Wayne County involving a school bus, according to Wayne County Schools Superintendent Todd Alexander. “The first thing is safety,” Alexander said. “The safety of the students and the safety of the driver, and unfortunately in this situation we do believe there’s been some injuries. We don’t believe there’s been any serious injuries, but we do have some kids that are being checked out medically.”

Initially, Alexander was quoted saying, “I think there were some reports that there may have been a deer seen, but all of that’s preliminary. We don’t know exactly what happened. We’ll wait for the investigation results.” However, according to West Virginia State Police, Walter Collie, 43, of Genoa, West Virginia, was under the influence of drugs when he crashed his bus into a utility pole on September 12, 2022. Officials say about 40 students were onboard at the time of the accident along Mill Creek Road in Fort Gay.

What Would the Penalty if this Crime was Committed in Mississippi?

It’s no question that American’s love to party—but how much and at what cost? According to the CDC, in 2018 an alcohol impaired driver got behind the wheel 147 million times. From 2003 to 2012, 2,560 people died as a result of car accidents related to alcohol impaired driving in the state of Mississippi. In 2018, 26.5% of total fatalities in Mississippi were a result of alcohol impaired driving.

We’ve all heard the warning during holidays: “Drive safe, people will be out drinking!” or that there’s going to be a DUI checkpoint tonight. But just how dangerous is it to be out driving during a holiday? As it turns out, it can be very risky during several holidays.

According to MoneyGeek, the 5 most dangerous holidays for DUI are as follows:

If you commit four DUIs within a few years in Mississippi, you face serious consequences. A first DUI might result in a slap on the wrist, and penalties for a second DUI can be moderately worse. But when the courts see that you have committed four DUIs, they will inevitably come to the conclusion that you have not learned your lesson. This means that the penalties will be much worse. In this situation, it is imperative to explore effective defense strategies to mitigate or even escape legal consequences. But is this even possible? What should you do if you find yourself in this situation?

What are the Penalties for a Fourth DUI in Mississippi?

Sometimes, it is difficult to figure out what the consequences of a fourth DUI actually are for the average citizen. According to Mississippi law, a fourth DUI is considered a felony with a fine of between $3,000 and $10,000. Of course, most people are primarily concerned about prison time. You can expect to face between two and 10 years in prison for a fourth DUI. But this is an incredibly wide scale, and there is a major difference between two and 10 years in prison. So what penalty does the average DUI convict face in Mississippi for this offense?

Cold and flu season is upon us. Many people often find themselves wondering, is it really possible to get a DUI from consuming cold medicine? Simple over the counter cold medicines can provide great relief to those that are down sick with coughing, sneezing, and congestion. However, there are often side effects that can leave you drowsy and judgment-impaired much the same way that alcohol can.

To answer that question, you really need to take a look at what a DUI offense is really all about. DUI stands for “driving under the influence.” Yes, this commonly refers to an individual operating a vehicle with a blood or breath alcohol content (BAC) of .08 or above. However, the law is intended to prevent driving while under the influence of anything that could impair your ability to safely operate a motor vehicle, including drugs. Driving while impaired by drugs is illegal in Mississippi. The fact that a drug was legally obtained and taken is no defense. If the state prosecutors can prove that you were driving while impaired by any over the counter and/or legal drugs, you could potentially be found guilty of driving under the influence.

Many people will take over-the-counter drugs to stop a headache or relieve cold symptoms. Over-the-counter medications are required to have printed warnings about side effects, including driving risks. The bad news is, many people don’t read the warning or they don’t believe it is meant for them. If you don’t understand these warnings, ask a pharmacist for help. However, some people take larger amounts of over-the-counter drugs to get high and feel good. Of course, this is particularly risky because taking any drug in large quantities results in a higher level of impairment, but it is important to know that even the recommended dosage of an over-the-counter drug can reduce your driving skills. Your coordination, decision-making, and reaction time can all be affected.

The time between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day is an exciting period filled with friends, family, and festivities of all kinds and varieties. It is very common for people to travel long distances to spend time with their family to celebrate the holidays.

There is no denying the holiday season is a joyous time and that oftentimes reconnecting with old friends can lead to more parties and gatherings in a very short period of time. Unfortunately, as with any time of year where back-to-back parties occur more frequently, the likelihood of drinking and driving also experiences an increase. Here are some facts about DUI’s and the Holiday Season that will serve you well as you try to stay safe this year.

Drinking and Driving Increases During the Holiday Season

Things You Must Not Say or Do When Stopped for A DUI!

There are many things that people should consider when being pulled over for a driving under the influence charge. It always helps to be respectful, obey any of the officer’s legal commands, and try to say and do as little as possible during the police encounter. Now, it is true that abiding by these guidelines does not always mean that the officer will treat you with the same kind of respect, but it will at least not start the police stop on a bad foot. Beyond that, the circumstances of every encounter will be different, and uniformity cannot always be the expected outcome. There are a couple for sure things that should never be done during a traffic stop.

Not the Time to Dance

Boating Under the Influence

A hot summer day under the sun, while boating on the lake, can be one of the best experiences a person can enjoy and is often regarded as a classic American pastime. Often, these experiences are accompanied by fun, good food, and possibly alcohol. However, these joyous experiences can quickly turn negative when the operator of the boat is arrested for boating under the influence. Operating any vehicle while under the influence, either on land or water, is extremely dangerous and could result in serious injury or death. However, even if no one is physically harmed, the watercraft operator could be faced with fines, possible jail time, and loss of boating permit, if they are found to be boating under the influence.

Operating a vessel on Mississippi public waters while intoxicated is a serious offense with potentially serious legal consequences. The Mississippi Alcohol Boating Safety Act has made it unlawful to operate a watercraft on the public waters of the state of Mississippi while under the influence of intoxicating liquor or any other substance which has impaired the person’s ability to operate a watercraft. Much like while operating a motor vehicle, there are potential long-lasting penalties if convicted of boating under the influence.

Alcohol consumption in Mississippi and the United States in general is a time-honored tradition. However, as with anything, overindulging in alcohol or being irresponsible when consuming alcohol can lead to both personal and legal problems. Far too often, when adult beverages are consumed, many people still decide it’s “ok” to drive home. Additionally, there are those who instead choose to “sleep it off” in their vehicle. Though not driving is definitely a better option, sleeping after drinking while behind the wheel, even on private property, can still result in a DUI arrest.

Why Can’t I “Just Sleep It Off?”

It is a common misconception across the county that if you are intoxicated, you can “sleep it off” in your vehicle and be safe from a Dui arrest. Anyone’s vehicle can be stopped, the transmission put in park, and the engine turned and can still be arrested for a dui. Nation-wide there are states that recognize this as the “Shelter Doctrine”; i.e., I suddenly feel that I can no longer drive and I have pulled off the road to seek shelter in my vehicle. However, in most states like in Mississippi, this “shelter doctrine” is not recognized as a defense to driving under the influence.

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.   

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