What Happens When You Commit a Second DUI Offense in Mississippi?
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.