When Does a DUI Become a Felony in Mississippi?

Being charged with a DUI in Mississippi can be a life-changing situation, but things may become even more serious if your DUI offense is a felony. There are several ways in which a DUI in Mississippi may constitute a felony, and it is important to understand this system. If you have been charged with a DUI in Mississippi, you should seek legal help as soon as possible, especially if you think you may be facing a felony. A qualified legal expert can help you navigate the legal system in an efficient manner, and this may include getting your felony reduced to a misdemeanor charge.

First, let us examine how a DUI is defined in the state of Mississippi. Here are some factors that can result in a DUI charge:

  • Blood-alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08% or higher for a normal driver
  • Blood-alcohol content of 0.02% or higher for a driver under the age of 21
  • Blood-alcohol content of 0.04% or higher for commercial drivers (CDL)
  • Driving while under the influence of any illegal drug or substance
  • Driving while under the influence of any legal drug or substance (like prescription pills)
  • Driving while intoxicated, regardless of BAC

It is also a license suspension to refuse to submit to a chemical test in the state of Mississippi, as implied consent laws are enforced. While a first or second DUI offense is a misdemeanor with penalties like a few days in jail and a suspended license, a third offense will be designated as a felony with much more serious penalties.

Third DUI Offense in Five Years 

In Mississippi, there is a “washout period” of five years when it comes to DUIs. This means that when courts determine whether it is the first or second time you have been convicted of a DUI, they only look at the previous five years. This is important when determining whether you have been convicted of a third DUI. If you have been convicted of two previous DUIs within the last five years and you get arrested for another DUI, you will be charged with a felony DUI which carries the following penalties:

  • Fine between $2,000 and $5,000
  • Between one and five years behind bars (either at the county jail or state penitentiary)
  • Ignition Interlock for five years once released from the penitentiary, or a five-year license suspension
  • A felony conviction is for life

Fourth DUI Offense Over Your Lifetime

Fourth DUI Offense Over Your Lifetime

If you have been arrested for a fourth DUI within your lifetime, the washout period does not apply. This is due to a recent change in Mississippi law. The penalties for s fourth DUI offense are:

  • Up to 10 years in prison
  • Up to a $10,000 fine
  • 10 years of ignition interlock upon release from the penitentiary or 10 years of license suspension
  • Second felony conviction

DUI With Injuries

If you have injured or killed another person while driving under the influence, you will be charged with a separate felony with prison time of between five and 25 years for each person in your vehicle or in another vehicle involved in your accident.

DUI With Child Endangerment

A DUI offense becomes even more serious when you have endangered, injured, or killed a child. In this situation, you would be charged with a felony with between five and 25 years in prison, plus a $10,000 fine.

Get Legal Help For Your Felony DUI Case

If you think you may be charged with a felony because of your DUI offense, it is important to seek expert legal aid as soon as possible. Reach out to Vic Carmody Jr., P.A., and he will help you reach the best possible outcome.

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