Drunk driving is a punishable offense in all states though penalties differ. Laws give officers the right to test drivers who they suspect of drunk driving. Drivers caught drunk driving in Mississippi can expect several stiff penalties.
Overview of Mississippi DUI
Mississippi considers a driver impaired if they register a BAC, or blood alcohol content, of 0.08. The limit is 0.04 for commercial drivers, and drivers under 21 cannot register more than 0.02 under Mississippi’s Zero Tolerance law. A driver can still get charged with DUI even under the limit and for certain controlled substances.
An officer may conduct several field sobriety tests, such as the walk-and-turn test, to determine impairment. If they have probable cause to believe a driver is impaired, they can administer a chemical test to measure BAC.
Mississippi DUI penalties
A first DUI offense qualifies as a misdemeanor with penalties of up to 48 hours in jail, a $250 to $1000 fine, or both. The license is suspended for 30 to 90 days, and the driver must install an ignition interlock device for that period.
Penalties for a second offense include five days to one year in jail, community service, fines between $600 and $1500, and a minimum 45-day license suspension. The vehicle is impounded for the length of the license suspension, or the court may assign an ignition interlock device. The driver should get a Notice of Forfeiture, or the vehicle will get turned over to the state for a third offense.
First and second offenders must attend a state-approved DUI mandatory education assessment program and complete the program to reinstate their licenses. Mississippi does not impose enhanced penalties on drivers who register a BAC between 0.15 to 0.20.
A driver may refuse breathalyzers prior to arrest but face penalties for refusal after arrest. However, just because someone was charged with a crime doesn’t mean that they are guilty of it, and a driver can use several defenses to fight charges.