A DUI is a serious offense in the state of Mississippi, especially if you have committed this crime more than once. When you consider the impact that drunk driving has on our communities, it makes sense to take a very strict approach when punishing people who drive while intoxicated. In 2016 alone, drunk drivers contributed to 18% of all traffic-related fatalities in the state of Mississippi. On a broader scale, America contains more drunk drivers than the entire populations of most countries.
Because of the life-and-death nature of DUIs, Mississippi is striving to reduce the prevalence of these crimes by whatever means possible. Although educational programs, mass media initiatives, and sobriety checkpoints are all effective measures, the easiest way to deter drunk drivers is with harsh penalties. If you continuously drive while impaired, you can expect your legal penalties to become increasingly more serious if you reoffend.
How Mississippi Defines DUIs
Anyone who breaks the following regulations is guilty of a DUI in the state of Mississippi:
- As a non-commercial driver over the age of 21, you may not operate a motor vehicle with a blood-alcohol content of 0.08% or higher
- If you are under the age of 21, Mississippi enforces a strict “zero tolerance” policy when it comes to impaired driving. Minors with a blood-alcohol content of 0.02% or higher will be charged with a DUI
- If you are a commercial driver with a CDL (commercial driver’s license), Mississippi holds you to a higher standard. You may not get behind the wheel with a blood-alcohol content of 0.04% or higher if you are operating a commercial motor vehicle.
- You may not operate a vehicle while under the influence of any drug, legal or otherwise. In addition, you may be charged with a DUI if you are deemed to be intoxicated, regardless of your blood-alcohol content
There are also consequences if you refuse to submit to a chemical test in the state of Mississippi because of implied consent laws. Refusing to take a breathalyzer test will result in an automatic 90-day suspension of your driving license for a first offense or a year for a second or subsequent offense. This is separate from a DUI charge, which you may still incur after refusing to take a chemical test.
Penalties for a Second Offense
While a first DUI offense may result in a 48-hour jail sentence and or a fine of between $250 and $1000, a second offense is much more serious. In the eyes of Mississippi law, you have been warned once about drunk driving and you have failed to correct your actions.
A second DUI offense may result in the following consequences:
- Between five days and six months in jail
- A fine between $600 and $1,500
- Community service between 10 days to six months
- Driver’s license suspension for a year
- Vehicle impoundment
In addition to jail time, fines, and license suspension, you face a number of additional consequences. Because you have repeated this crime more than once, the court may question your mental stability and order a diagnostic assessment. This serves to determine whether you have substance abuse issues. Depending on the results of this assessment, you may be ordered to undergo special treatment for any potential addiction issues.
Depending on your situation, you may elect the installation of an ignition interlock system on your vehicle. This device ensures that you can no longer start your car if you have a blood alcohol content of above 0.02%. An ignition interlock system will remain on your vehicle as an alternative of the suspension time.
The Washout Period
There is a five-year “washout period” when it comes to DUIs in Mississippi. This means that your DUI will only be classified as a second offense if you have committed another DUI at least five years prior. While this may give drivers some leeway, it only gets you so far. A fourth offense during your lifetime is an automatic felony, regardless of the washout period.
Possible Defenses for a Second DUI Offense
A qualified attorney can attempt to reduce the penalties for your DUI with a number of proven strategies. This is why finding high-quality legal assistance is so important when it comes to DUIs.
An experienced lawyer can find flaws or inaccuracies in your test results. Perhaps the breathalyzer unit malfunctioned, and you were actually below the legal limit. On the other hand, your lawyer may question the officer’s motives for pulling you over. Did they have probable cause? These are all important questions that your lawyer can look into.
Getting Legal Help
If you have been charged with a second DUI offense in Mississippi, reach out to Vic Carmody Jr., P.A., and we will make sure you strive for the best possible legal outcome.
What Happens When You Commit a Third DUI Offense in Mississippi?
When it comes to DUIs in Mississippi, a “third strike” means significant penalties. If you have been charged with a third DUI, Mississippi courts will assume that you simply have not learned your lesson. This means that you face much more serious consequences.
While your situation may seem dire, you can strive for the best possible outcome with the help of a qualified attorney who has decades of experience. Expert legal assistance is absolutely essential when you are facing your third DUI, and it can help you avoid years of jail time, fines, and other penalties.
Even if you have not committed this crime, it is important to educate yourself about the potential consequences. When you gain an understanding of how Mississippi punishes those who commit a third DUI, it may dissuade you from getting behind the wheel while inebriated. It is important to remember that avoiding DUIs is not just about avoiding jail time – it can also save lives. Roughly one in three traffic-related deaths in America are caused by a drunk driver.
Penalties for a Third DUI Offense in Mississippi
The penalties for DUIs become increasingly strict according to the number of times you have been caught behind the wheel while impaired. Your first offense may result in a couple of days of jail time and a small fine, and your second offense could put you behind bars for up to six months. However, these penalties pale in comparison to the consequences you face for a third DUI offense.
Unlike your first and second DUI offenses, the third time you commit this crime will result in a felony charge. As you may know, felonies result in longer prison sentences, and you may also face a jury instead of just a judge during your trial.
If you have committed a third DUI offense, you face a minimum of one year in prison. Depending on how your trial goes, this sentence may be extended to a maximum of five years. In terms of fines, you will need to pay anywhere between $2,000 and $5,000. In addition, you will need to pay various legal fees.
Your license may be suspended for the full period of the person’s sentence and upon release from incarceration; the person will be eligible for only an interlock-restricted license for three years.
Finally, your mental state will be called into question when you commit a third DUI offense. Because you have already been warned twice about the serious nature of this crime, some form of psychological assessment is necessary. Everyone who commits a third DUI offense must undergo certain treatment programs to ensure the safety of other drivers on the road. You will only be eligible to drive once again after you have completed your treatment program.
The Washout Period
Because of the so-called “washout period” in Mississippi law, it may be tricky to determine whether or not you have actually committed a third DUI offense. After committing your first DUI offense, a subsequent offense only becomes a second offense if you have been charged within five years of the original crime.
For example, you might have committed your first DUI in 2010 before committing the same crime seven years later. According to Mississippi law, this second crime would still be considered a first DUI offense because of the washout period. This means that if you committed a third DUI in 2020, it would actually be prosecuted as a second DUI offense.
However, this system does not mean that you can commit an unlimited amount of DUIs throughout your lifetime. As soon as you commit a fourth DUI, you will be charged with a felony. The washout period does not apply when you commit more than three DUIs over the course of your life.
Your Legal Options
If you face a third DUI felony, it is important to seek help from an expert attorney who is experienced with DUIs. Your attorney can enter into a special agreement on your behalf, and this may result in a reduced sentence. These legal experts may also question the accuracy of sobriety tests, or point out that you were detained illegally by police officers. There may also be not enough evidence that you were actually behind the wheel, especially if there was more than one person in the car. These are just a few possible strategies your attorney can take.
Getting Legal Help
If you have been charged with a third DUI offense in Mississippi, reach out to Vic Carmody Jr., P.A., and we can help you approach this difficult situation with a sense of dignity and confidence.
What are the Penalties for a Fourth DUI Offense in Mississippi?
A few years ago, the state of Mississippi altered its DUI laws in an effort to take a tougher stance against impaired drivers. Although the state has taken many initiatives to deter people from drunk driving, it continues to be a major issue in our communities. The United States has experienced a decline in drunk driving in recent decades, but statistics suggest that this dangerous crime may be on the rise once more.
More than 10,000 people die as a result of drunk driving each year, and many of these include Mississippians. Because of the threat drunk drivers pose to citizens, state legislators have decided to make a fourth DUI offense within a lifetime an automatic felony with serious consequences. This is an important development for the fight against drunk driving, and it may mean much harsher penalties if you have been charged with this crime.
It is always important to educate yourself about new developments within Mississippi state law. When you become aware of changes to DUI laws, you are more likely to avoid serious penalties and behave in a manner that creates safer roads for everyone. That being said, education might not be enough if you have already been charged with a fourth DUI within your lifetime. At this point, you need to enlist the help of a qualified legal expert who can help you reach a favorable outcome.
How a DUI is Defined in Mississippi
DUI laws are very strict in Mississippi. If you are stopped by a police officer who suspects that you are intoxicated, they may ask you to perform a sobriety test. If you refuse to submit to a chemical test (via a device that measures your blood-alcohol content), the Department of Public Safety will suspend your license administratively because of implied consent laws. You may then be charged with the criminal offense of DUI.
It is illegal for a adult driver to get behind the wheel if they have a blood-alcohol content of 0.08%. For a commercial driver, that limit is halved. Minors may only drive with a blood-alcohol content of under 0.02%.
In addition, it is illegal to drive while under the influence of any illegal drug. It is also prohibited to drive while under the influence of any legal drug that can impair your judgment. This includes prescription medication. Driving while under the influence of drugs is on the rise, and authorities are employing new methods to determine whether someone is “high” behind the wheel.
Penalties for a Fourth DUI Within Your Lifetime
Legislators have decided that a fourth DUI within a lifetime should be considered a felony. Under previous law, drivers could potentially “work around the system” by spacing their DUI offenses apart by a few years at a time. The “washout period” of five years meant that a DUI would only be considered a second offense if you had committed another DUI within five years prior. Theoretically, this meant that drivers could commit a vast number of DUIs within their lifetime and never face a felony.
The new rules state that as soon as you commit a fourth DUI, you will be charged with a felony – regardless of the washout period. This felony comes with penalties that are even more serious compared to a third DUI offense felony:
- A prison sentence of between two and 10 years
- A fine of between $3,000 and $10,000
- Interlock system installed on your car for 10 years
In addition, you will be required to undergo a psychological assessment. If medical health professionals determine that you require treatment for your substance abuse issues, you will be ordered to complete a treatment program. You must pay for this program yourself, and the fees can be quite expensive.
Penalties for Minors Who Commit a Third or Subsequent DUI
If you have committed a third or subsequent DUI as a minor, the penalties are less strict. That being said, you still face a number of serious consequences. In addition, you will face normal consequences (as listed above) if your blood-alcohol level is higher than 0.08%. The following reduced penalties apply only if you have committed a third or subsequent DUI as a minor with a blood-alcohol content of between 0.02% and 0.08%:
- License suspension for two years or until you reach the age of 21 – whichever period of time is longer
- A fine of up to $1,000
- Possible treatment program for substance abuse
- Alcohol safety education program
- Mandatory attendance at a victim impact panel
- Possible installation of ignition interlock
It is worth pointing out that in the case of minors, the five-year washout period does apply to third and subsequent DUI offenses.
Getting Legal Help
The fourth DUI offense of your life requires serious legal attention. For an experienced attorney with a number of proven DUI defense strategies, reach out to Vic Carmody Jr., P.A. today.
What Happens When You Hurt Someone While Drunk Driving in Mississippi?
Whether people are injured or not, drunk driving is a serious crime in the state of Mississippi. That being said, you will always face tougher penalties as a drunk driver when people are hurt or killed. Unfortunately, this is a common occurrence – not only in Mississippi but around the entire nation. From 2003 to 2012, over 2,560 people were killed as a result of drunk drivers in Mississippi. Across the entire nation, approximately 25% of all traffic deaths are caused by drunk drivers, and over 29 people die each day because of drunk driving.
If you have been charged with a DUI and you have caused a collision that has resulted in injury or death, you need to prepare for a serious legal battle ahead. To achieve the best possible outcome, it is imperative that you enlist help from a qualified, expert attorney with a keen understanding of DUI laws in the state of Mississippi. As you are about to find out, the consequences of committing a DUI with injury or death can drastically impact your life.
What’s the Difference Between a “Normal” DUI and a DUI Involving Death or Injury?
The first thing you need to know about DUIs in Mississippi is that penalties can vary depending on the severity of the crime. For instance, a first offense DUI carries a relatively light misdemeanor charge, while the consequences become more and more serious with the second, third, and subsequent DUI offenses. This “sliding scale” gives people more than enough warning before they begin to face felony charges with potentially long prison sentences.
The next thing you need to know is that when you commit a DUI involving injury or death of another person, this “sliding scale” is completely disregarded in the eyes of Mississippi law. There is no warning or “slap on the wrist.” Even if this is your very first DUI, you will face a felony and a potentially long prison sentence. According to Mississippi law, this is considered an “aggravated DUI,” which has its own set of penalties. You will also face a separate, additional felony for each person you injure or kill as a result of your drunk driving.
What Constitutes an Aggravated DUI in Mississippi?
In most cases, drivers face an aggravated DUI charge when they injure or kill another person. While the definition of “killing” someone is relatively straightforward, the exact definition of an “injury” may be less clear in the context of DUIs.
Usually, drivers will only face a DUI felony if they seriously hurt someone else. Here are a few examples of situations that may result in an aggravated DUI charge:
- Serious mutilation, such as severe scars, burns, or destroyed limbs
- Any injury that causes someone to become disabled, such as spinal injuries or blindness
- Disfigurement of the face, to the point where the person’s quality of life is severely diminished
Penalties for a DUI Felony Involving Death or Injury
So what happens when you have been charged with a felony DUI involving death or injury? One of the main things you need to prepare for is a jury trial. Unlike a misdemeanor, a jury will probably hear your case and decide on what consequences you should face. This is another important reason to hire a lawyer who can represent your best interests.
As previously mentioned, the sentences for a DUI involving death or injuries are quite severe. Here is what you may face after being found guilty:
- A prison sentence between five and 25 years for each person you have killed, disfigured, mutilated, or seriously injured
- The installation of an ignition interlock system for five years following your release
Your Legal Options
Even though it might seem like the odds are stacked against you, there are a number of positive steps you can take with your attorney to help deal with this situation. For example, your attorney may show the court that the injuries suffered by other drivers are not severe enough to warrant an aggravated felony charge. Perhaps your lawyer will help the court see that the accident was actually caused by other drivers.
Find the Help You Need
Regardless of your unique legal situation, the assistance of a qualified expert is always necessary. Reach out to Vic Carmody Jr., P.A. today, and we will help you move forward in a dignified, fair manner.
What Happens When You are Charged With DUI Child Endangerment in Mississippi?
Drunk driving in Mississippi presents a danger to everyone on the road, but perhaps the most vulnerable individuals are children. These young citizens lack a certain measure of control and self-responsibility held by motorists. They did not choose to get behind the wheel of a car; they are simply there because someone is transporting them from one place to another.
At the end of the day, children are completely innocent in the case of DUIs. Collisions involving drunk drivers are completely outside of their control, and this is why the state of Mississippi is doing everything possible to protect these children. Unfortunately, methods such as media campaigns and educational programs can only go so far when it comes to drunk driving. In 2014, it was reported that Mississippi had one of the highest rates of child deaths in connection with DUIs.
In many cases, the only way to send a clear message is to punish those who have endangered or harmed children as a result of their drunk driving. If you have been charged with DUI involving child endangerment in the state of Mississippi, you can expect tough consequences. Unlike some types of DUIs, you will face a felony with potentially long prison sentences. This is why it is so important to team up with a qualified attorney who can help you navigate the legal system during this difficult time.
What is Child Endangerment?
A DUI involving child endangerment is essentially a combination of two crimes. The first part is a DUI, while the second is a crime called child endangerment. There are many examples of child endangerment, and this offense is not just limited to situations that happen on the road. For example, committing a dangerous crime while accompanied by a minor may be classified as reckless child endangerment. Other examples may include physically beating the child, or providing underage minors with alcohol.
The most important thing you need to know about child endangerment is that you can still be charged regardless of intent. In other words, it does not matter that you did not intend for the child to become harmed as a result of your actions. You can be found guilty of this crime if the court determines that you showed a certain disregard or lack of care for the fate of a child. As soon as you place a child in a situation where they are more likely to be harmed, you run the risk of being charged with child endangerment.
What Constitutes a DUI With Child Endangerment?
One of the most common examples of child endangerment in Mississippi involves DUIs. Because of the prevalence of drunk drivers who have children in their cars at the time of their crimes, Mississippi legislators were forced to enact tougher laws. These laws were intended to deter drunk drivers from transporting children in their cars while inebriated. A DUI with child endangerment involves much harsher penalties compared to other DUI charges.
If you are under the influence of drugs or alcohol and you drive a car with a child under the age of 16 as a passenger, you will be charged with DUI child endangerment. This means that you have exceeded the legal blood alcohol level in Mississippi. The legal BAC is usually 0.08%, but it may be lower if you are under the age of 21 or if you are a commercial driver.
What are the Penalties for a DUI With Child Endangerment in Mississippi?
As previously stated, the penalties for a DUI child endangerment are harsh. That being said, your exact penalties depend on how many times you have committed this offense in the past:
- First DUI Child Endangerment: If it is your first time committing this crime, you face a misdemeanor charge. You may be sentenced with up to one year in prison, a $1,000 fine, or both.
- Second DUI Child Endangerment: If it is your second time committing this crime, you face a misdemeanor charge. The penalty for this crime may include a one-year prison sentence, a fine of between $1,000 and $5,000, or both.
- Third and Subsequent DUI Child Endangerment: If you have committed this crime more than twice, you face a felony. After being convicted, you may be given a prison sentence of between one and five years, and you may also be fined up to $10,000 (or both).
As you can see, the penalties become increasingly harsh with repeated offenses. That being said, this sliding scale does not come into play if your actions have resulted in the death or injury of a minor:
- DUI Child Endangerment with Death or Injury: If the child in your car has been killed or seriously injured, it does not matter whether it is your first, second, or third DUI child endangerment offense. In this case, you will face an automatic felony. This involves a prison sentence of between five and 25 years, a fine of up to $10,000, or both.
Getting Legal Help
By now, it should be clear that DUI child endangerment is a very serious crime with equally serious consequences. If you value your freedom and you wish to strive for the best possible legal outcome, reach out to Vic Carmody Jr., P.A. today.