Many state legislatures have enhanced the DUI laws in their jurisdictions during the past two decades, including Mississippi. In fact, Mississippi may have some of the harshest penalties in the nation based on what can be classified as a felony when a driver has been drinking alcohol. Other states have set a specific blood-alcohol content level of 0.15 to establish aggravated DUI charges, but Mississippi leaves major discretion to the court based on a totality of circumstances when charges are filed. Even a BAC reading of 0.08 can result in a felony charge under certain conditions.
With the nationwide BAC level of 0.08 being applied for a standard drunk driving case, any charge can be enhanced to an aggravated felony charge if certain other factors exist. One factor is having a child under 16 years of age in the vehicle. Another condition that can enhance a DUI charge is being involved in an accident that results in property damage, death of a passenger or a catastrophic injury. Penalties can include incarceration in a state correctional facility for 5-25 years upon conviction.
Commercial and underage drivers
Commercial and underage drivers are held to an even stricter standard in Mississippi drunk driving cases. Commercial drivers’ BAC maximum is 0.08 for an aggravated DUI charge, and underage drivers are subject to the zero-tolerance policy. Additional charges can be applied for underage drivers in addition to the aggravated DUI charge, which is set at 0.04 BAC even without extenuating circumstances.
Mississippi drivers should understand that an additional felony charge is applied when they are involved in an accident resulting in death, dismemberment or scarring facial injury while drinking and driving. Being involved in a DUI accident can result in very serious life-altering consequences for all negligent drunk drivers in Mississippi, so they may need professional assistance to avoid a felony conviction.