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Mississippi Drunk Driving Laws

Intro

In the state of Mississippi, driving under the influence (DUI) is technically called ‘operating a motor vehicle under the influence’ or OUI. According to the Mississippi Department of Transportation, drunk driving accounted for 18% of all traffic-related deaths in 2016.

Drunk Driving Laws

Under Mississippi DUI Laws, it is illegal to operate a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, any other substance that impairs a person’s motor skills, controlled substances or all of them. A driver is said to be under the influence if their blood alcohol content (BAC) is 0.08% or more. For commercial drivers, the BAC level should be under 0.04%. For persons under the age of 21, the legal BAC limit is further reduced to 0.02%.

Punishment & Penalties for Drunk Driving

The punishment and penalties for drunk driving depend on whether it is a first-time offense or a repeat offense. The first two offenses are treated as misdemeanors and the third offense as a felony if they occur within a period of five years. Regardless of the time period, the fourth and subsequent offenses are felonies.

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  • First Offense: Imprisonment up to 48 hours or fine ranging from USD 250 to USD 1,000 or both. The license is suspended for 120 days.
  • Second Offense: Imprisonment from five days up to six months and fine ranging from USD 600 to USD 1,500. The offender is also required to do community service for a period ranging from 10 days to six months. The license is suspended for a year.
  • Third Offense: Imprisonment from one year up to five years and fines ranging from USD 2,000 to USD 5,000. The license is suspended for the duration of the prison term. Upon release, they are only permitted to operate vehicles with ignition interlock devices for three years.
  • Fourth and Subsequent Offenses: Imprisonment from two years up to 10 years and fine ranging from USD 3,000 to USD 10,000. The license is suspended for the duration of the prison term. Upon release, they are only permitted to operate vehicles with ignition interlock devices for 10 years.

Refusal to Undergo Chemical Tests

In Mississippi, any person who operates a motor vehicle on public roads has given implicit consent to have their breath chemically tested for the purpose of ascertaining their BAC level. Refusal to submit to the test will result in the suspension of the driver’s license for 90 days to a year.

Blood Alcohol Safety Education Program & Substance Abuse Program

All first-time offenders, whether they are convicted or they plead guilty, are required to mandatorily undergo a blood alcohol safety education program at their own cost. This is a prerequisite for license reinstatement. Any person who has been convicted of DUI more than once has to undergo a diagnostic evaluation and may be required to complete a substance abuse treatment program.

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Zero Tolerance for Minors

The Mississippi DUI Law prescribes only monetary penalties and no jail time for underage drunk driving provided the BAC was lower than 0.08 %. The fine is USD 250 (first offense), up to USD 500 (second offense), and up to USD 1,000 (third offense), if these offenses were committed within five years. A repeat offender’s license will be suspended or revoked for a period of two years or until they turn 21, whichever period is longer.

Child Endangerment

If a person (21 or older) flouts the DUI law while having an underage (16 or younger) passenger with them, they shall face additional penalties and punishment. Depending on the frequency and severity of the offense, the penalty may range from a fine of up to USD 1,000 to USD 10,000 and / or imprisonment for a term ranging from up to 12 months to 25 years.

Aggravated DUI

If a person in violation of the DUI laws operates a motor vehicle resulting in the death of another person or significant injury, disfigurement or permanent disability to another person, then such person is liable to imprisonment for a term ranging from five years to 25 years.

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