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.