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Mississippi Implied Consent Law: DUI Breath or Blood Tests

What does implied consent law mean? About 70 years ago, federal highway traffic safety officials with the Department of Transportation promoted the idea that states needed to enact new driver licensing laws. An increasing trend for suspected drunken drivers was to not agree to be tested by law enforcement as part of the arrest process, and no laws were in place to sanction this refusal to submit and be tested for impairing substances.

What does the implied consent law mean to a driver? In essence, any motorist refusing to allow post-arrest testing to determine alcohol or drug content in his or her system should lose the right to drive, the government agency suggested. Because there is no federal implied consent law, the government used the power of the purse (withholding highway money) to get states to pass such laws.

How to explain the implied consent law. Starting in 1953, these civil infraction laws were put in place across America. The Mississippi laws on implied consent can be found in this link. By virtue of the seizure of post-arrest evidence against a detained citizen in the criminal DUI case, several fourth amendment cases have found their way to the United States Supreme Court.

Implied consent law definition. Since states controlled the right to drive a motor vehicle, it was suggested to use the threat of taking away your right to drive to be the “legal coercion” to get a suspected intoxicated driver to take law enforcement tests. These implied consent laws are designed to compel suspected drunk drivers to submit to a forensic test of breath, blood, or urine after being taken into custody for impaired driving.

Define implied consent law. Once states altered their state statutes, the implied consent law means a person automatically agrees that (if lawfully arrested for DUI-DWI) he or she has then consented to be tested. This is a legal fiction that you agreed to submit, but most states' driver license application now contains this "agreement" which applicants have no choice but to sign.

But, under the Mississippi implied consent law, refusal to take a test creates legal barriers to expungement. So, the definition of implied consent law is a statute that puts you driving privileges at risk of being lost by not permitting the State to test your breath or blood.

The Implied Consent Law States That Lawfully Arrested DUI Drivers Must Allow Post-Arrest Testing

The implied consent law requires you to permit forensic testing after arrest for drunken driving. The suggested leverage to cause drivers to “submit” to post-arrest testing was to enact laws that took away the right to drive through administrative license suspension or revocation. Later modifications in the 1970s added a new license suspension aspect for immediate suspension when the driver took the test and was over the legal limit.

All states now have some form of implied consent statutes mandating DUI suspects to submit to chemical tests. About a dozen states (ND, SD, WI, MN) have added even more implied consent law penalty provisions, beyond mere suspension or revocation. In these states, all drivers who refuse testing face jail time, or state prison time, if a repeat offender.

The now famous 2016 US Supreme Court case of Birchfield v. North Dakota on warrantless blood collection outlined some of the state laws that added criminal laws sanctions against a detained driver for refusing to allow post arrest implied consent testing.

What happens after a violation of implied consent law? Financial penalties and even jail or prison time exists in these states, but not on Mississippi. Requests for blood draws (if refused) must now be authorized by judicial search warrant.

While not much implied consent case law has been litigated on appeal in the Magnolia State, other states like Florida, Texas and Georgia have hundreds of appellate cases challenging their states' DUI implied consent laws, on various aspects of the legal interpretation of laws in those states.

DUI in Mississippi: How Implied Consent Law Impacts a Client’s Case

The implied consent law calls for chemical testing to determine BAC levels or drug quantities. Police officers are trained on these sobriety tests plus when and how to give the implied consent notice. Since most arrests are for alcohol, you will usually only be asked by a law enforcement officer to submit to a breath test to determine alcohol within your bloodstream.

It is illegal in Mississippi for any person to drive or otherwise operate a motor vehicle within this state who:

  1. is under the influence of intoxicating liquor or other substance which has impaired his or her ability to operate a motor vehicle.
  2. has a 0.08 grams percent of alcohol in the blood for persons 21 years of age or older; or has a 0.02 grams percent of alcohol in the blood for persons under 21 years of age; or a 0.04 grams percent of alcohol for persons operating a commercial motor vehicle; all as determined by a post-arrest chemical test of breath, blood, or urine.
Three Criminal Defense Attorneys Who Wrote THE BOOK on Mississippi DUI Laws

Not only do our criminal law partners cover all of Mississippi, but each one also is a legal book author.

For a FREE consultation with an award-winning criminal attorney near me, call today and speak with our three legal book authors at 1-800-360-3847.

Other Helpful, Related Links

The implied consent law means what for a minor?
What's the implied consent law for drivers? Wording of the full Mississippi implied consent statute

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