Mississippi Drunk Driving Laws

If you drink and drive in Mississippi, you can be charged with “operating a motor vehicle under the influence,” also known as an OUI. If you are arrested for driving under the influence, you can face serious penalties under Mississippi drunk driving laws. Understanding how your state handles drunk driving can help you understand your rights and find a knowledgeable Mississippi DUI defense attorney to help resolve your case.

Mississippi Drunk Driving Laws

Mississippi law prohibits drivers from driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. It is considered drunk driving for a driver to have a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08% or more.

Implied Consent: Yes

Enhanced Penalties: Driving under the influence with a child passenger under 16 years of age; causing an accident resulting in serious bodily injury or death; prior convictions

The first or second DUI conviction a driver receives within five years is a misdemeanor, but the third or any subsequent offense in a driver’s lifetime will be a felony offense. The penalties for a conviction depend on the number of prior convictions and any aggravating factors.

  • First offense: Two days in jail, $250 to $1,000 fine, 120-day license suspension, alcohol safety program, and vehicle impoundment until equipped with an ignition interlock device (IID). The court can also order attendance at a victim impact panel instead of the 2 days in jail.
  • Second offense: Five days to six months in jail; $600 to $1,500 fine; one-year license suspension; substance abuse diagnostic assessment; completion of recommended treatments; and vehicle impoundment until equipped with an ignition interlock device
  • Third offense: One to five years imprisonment, $2,000 to $5,000 fine, three-year license suspension, substance abuse diagnostic assessment, completion of recommended treatments, and vehicle impoundment until equipped with an ignition interlock device.

Drivers may be eligible for a “non-adjudicated resolution,” meaning the judge stays or suspends the sentence in place of an alcohol safety program, other fines and fees, and a 120-day license suspension period or  IID a 120-day period.

Operating Under the Influence in Mississippi

For an officer to stop you for an OUI, the officer must either have a reasonable suspicion that you are driving under the influence. You could also face an officer pulling you over on a holiday when driving through a sobriety checkpoint.

Sobriety checkpoints are common for Mississippi law enforcement. They are often used around holidays when there are more impaired drivers on the road. Checkpoint enforcement periods can occur over Labor Day, Memorial Day, the 4th of July, or even around college game days when many residents are traveling to celebrate with family and friends.

Mississippi has a “washout” period of five years. This means that to determine 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, instead of suspending your driver’s license the court may order you to install an ignition interlock device. A local Mississippi OUI defense lawyer can explain your legal options to negotiate a plea agreement or challenge the criminal charges in court.

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