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Mississippi Drunk Driving Laws

If you drink and drive in Mississippi, you won’t get charged with a DUI — you’ll get charged with “operating a motor vehicle under the influence,” also known as an “OUI.” Like an “IOU,” but instead of owing your buddy your share of the bar tab, now you may owe the state of Mississippi thousands of dollars in fines (in addition to jail time). Maybe you were on your way home from an Ole Miss football game or on your way to the beach. No matter why you got behind the wheel, if you got caught driving under the influence, it may be time to pay the piper under Mississippi drunk driving laws.

What Mississippi Drunk Driving Laws Say

For an officer to stop you for testing, the officer must either have a reasonable suspicion that you are driving under the influence, or you must be driving through a sobriety checkpoint. Sobriety checkpoints are an increasingly popular tool for Mississippi law enforcement. They are used most often around major holidays when many residents are traveling to celebrate with family and friends. Police and prosecutors recognize that these checkpoints usually generate enough arrests to justify the effort.

Mississippi, like the majority of states, has implied consent laws (Sec. 63-11-5). This means that just by driving on public roads or getting a driver’s license, you’ve given your consent to breath testing and chemical blood testing. If you refuse to submit to testing, your license will be suspended.

Refusing a field sobriety test:

  • First Refusal: 90-day license suspension (Sec. 63-11-5(2)).
  • Subsequent Refusals: One-year license suspension (Sec. 63-11-5(2)).

Blood-Alcohol Concentration (BAC) Limits:

  • 21 years of age and up: BAC limit of 0.08 (Sec. 63-11-30(1)(d)(i)).
  • Under 21 years of age: BAC limit of 0.08 (Sec. 63-11-30(1)(d)(ii)).
  • Commercial drivers: BAC limit of 0.08 (Sec. 63-11-30(1)(d)(iii)).

Drunk Driving Penalties

  • First Offense: Misdemeanor; up to 48 hours in jail; $250 to $1,000 fine; 120-day license suspension. The court may order you to attend a victim impact panel instead of 48 hours in jail (Sec. 63-11-30(2)(a)(i)).
  • Second Offense: Misdemeanor; one-year license suspension; five days to six months in jail; a fine of $600 to $1,500; community service for ten days to six months (Sec. 63-11-30(2)(b)(i)).
  • Third Offense: Felony; one to five years in jail; $2,000 to $5,000 in fines; interlock-restricted license only for three years (Sec. 63-11-30(2)(c)(i)).
  • Fourth or Subsequent Offense: Felony; washout period doesn’t apply; two to 10 years in jail; $3,000 to $10,000 in fines; interlock-restricted license only for 10 years (Sec. 63-11-30(2)(d)(i)).

I Got Charged with Drunk Driving in Mississippi: What’s Next?

Mississippi has a “washout” period of five years (Sec. 63-11-30(2)(b)(i)). This means that, for the purposes of determining your sentence, the court will only consider the number of OUIs you’ve been convicted of in the last five years. However, the washout period doesn’t apply if you’re being charged with your fourth or more OUI. For people who rely on their vehicle for transportation to work, keep in mind that in some cases, instead of suspending your driver’s license, the court may order you to install an ignition interlock device.