In Mississippi, it is illegal for individuals under 21 to consume alcohol. Therefore, if a minor is arrested for DUI, they will face legal consequences under the state’s underage drinking laws and DUI statutes. The severity of these consequences will depend on various factors, including the minor’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC), prior offenses, and the circumstances surrounding the arrest.
The law governing DUIs is found under Miss. Code Ann. § 63-11-30. The law governing minors arrested for DUI is specifically found under subsection 3 of the statute, the “Zero Tolerance for Minors” law. It applies when someone under 21 has a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.02% or higher but less than 0.08%. If their BAC is 0.08% or higher, the minor will be treated as an adult first-offense DUI, and those laws will govern.
Under the Zero Tolerance law, if someone under 21 is convicted for the first time of breaking this law and takes a chemical test or if no test results are available, they will be fined $250. They must also attend an alcohol safety education program within six months. The court may also require them to participate in a victim impact panel.
If someone under 21 is convicted for the second time of breaking this law within five years, they can be fined up to $500. If that person is convicted for the third or subsequent time of breaking this law within five years, they can be fined up to $1,000. If someone under 21 is convicted for the third or subsequent time of breaking this law, they must complete a certified alcohol or drug abuse program as part of their treatment.
Driver’s License Suspension
If the minor does not have the interlock device installed and the restricted license obtained, his driver’s license will be suspended after 30 days of the court order for 120 days for the first offense; 1 year for the second; and for the third offense occurring within five years, their license will be suspended or denied for two years or until they reach the age of 21, whichever is longer.
Education and Rehabilitation
While the legal consequences of a minor’s DUI arrest in Mississippi are significant, the state also recognizes the importance of rehabilitation and education in preventing future offenses. Minors may be, and in most cases, required to attend alcohol education programs, substance abuse counseling, or participate in community service aimed at fostering responsible decision-making and deterring underage drinking.
Long-Term Impact and Support
A DUI arrest can have lasting effects on a minor’s life. Parents, guardians, and the community must provide support, guidance, and resources to help the minor learn from their mistakes and make positive changes. Encouraging open communication, addressing underlying issues that may have contributed to the DUI incident, and promoting responsible behavior can aid the minor’s rehabilitation process and reduce the likelihood of future offenses.
Remember, this blog post is intended to provide general information and should not be considered legal advice. Legal matters can be complex, and it is advisable to seek professional legal counsel for individual cases or concerns related to felonies and misdemeanors in Mississippi.
If you have been searching the Mississippi area for a qualified, experienced criminal defense attorney, look no further than Vic Carmody Jr., P.A. Over the years, we have helped numerous citizens pursue favorable outcomes. Although facing DUI charges is not a pleasant experience, there are many potential defense strategies that can be used to defend and reduce the charges. Call us today at (601) 948-4444 to set up your free consultation with an attorney.