In Mississippi, the minimum blood alcohol content (BAC) required for a DUI (driving under the influence) conviction is .08 for drivers ages 21 and up. The minimum BAC is .04 for commercial drivers and an even lower .02 for drivers under 21.
Implied Consent Law
Mississippi is one of the many states that maintains an implied consent law. You must take a chemical test of either your urine, breath, or blood if requested to do so by a police officer who has probable cause.
Should you refuse to consent to this test, you will be instantly arrested. Your driver’s license will automatically be suspended for a period of 90 days. If you’ve already been convicted of a DUI, your license will be suspended for a year. You will also be subject to a minimum $250 fine should you refuse to take a chemical test. Because of these penalties, it is not generally advisable to decline.
Penalties for DUI
For any DUI conviction in Mississippi, you will usually be required to attend a victim impact panel and take a course in alcohol safety. There is no minimum jail time for a first DUI offense, but the fines associated with a first conviction range from $250 to $1,000. Your license will also be suspended for a period of 90 days. However, there is a possibility you will be permitted to drive after 30 days in the event of a hardship. For instance, if there is no public transportation to your job and you have dependents, you might get your license back sooner than the 90-day minimum.
A second conviction carries a jail sentence of five days to a year, a fine of $600 to $1,500, 10 days to a year of community service and a license suspension of up to two years. Your vehicle may also be temporarily impounded and you may have an ignition interlock device installed on your car for six months after you get your licenses back.
In Mississippi, a third DUI conviction is a felony that carries a one to five year jail sentence and a fine of $2,000 to $5,000 dollars. Additionally, your license can be suspended up to five years and your vehicle seized. You will likely be required to use an ignition interlock device once your license is reinstated.
The “washout” or “lookback” time period is five years in Mississippi, which means that if your prior DUI (or DUIs) occurred more than five years ago, they will not count in the minimum sentencing. For example, if you are convicted of your first DUI in 2015 and of another in 2022, the second conviction will be sentenced as a first offense, because more than five years have passed.
Changes in Mississippi DUI Laws
Over recent years, Mississippi DUI laws have been strengthened. Unlike in some other states, in Mississippi, you cannot plea down to a lesser offense such as a “wet reckless.”
What Is The Legal Alcohol Limit In Mississippi?
Driving under the influence (DUI) is a serious crime in Mississippi. The state aggressively enforces a legal alcohol limit of .08 percent. When law enforcement officials suspect a person of being impaired by alcohol in a traffic stop, a breath or blood test is typically administered. A blood alcohol concentration of .08 percent or greater typically results in DUI charges.
Potential penalties from a driving under the influence offense can have a dramatic impact on a person’s life. Individuals convicted of DUI may face punishments that include:
- For a first offense, a person may face a $1,000 fine, two days in jail, loss of driving privileges for one year and participation in alcohol education course.
- For a second conviction, an individual may incur a fine of $1,500, a jail term of up to one year and a license suspension of two years.
- For a third offense, a convicted driver could face a fine of up to $5,000, up to five years in prison and a driver’s license suspension of five years.
The alcohol limit of .08 percent applies to passenger motorists age 21 and over. Commercial drivers can be prosecuted for alcohol-related driving offenses with a BAC of .04 or greater. People not of drinking age may be charged with a BAC of .02 percent or greater.
Ignition Interlock Requirements In Mississippi
Mandatory installation of an ignition interlock device (IID) is another type of DUI punishment. Installing this piece of equipment is typically the only way to have a driver’s license reinstated following a DUI arrest.
Ignition interlock devices:
- Require a driver to pass a breath test before vehicle will start.
- Collect data that can result in additional penalties in the event of a failed test or device tampering
- Must be installed, monitored and serviced at the expense of the convicted individual.
Mississippi requires that an individual convicted on DUI charges lease a device from a state-approved vendor. Information can be obtained through the Department of Public Safety.
Mississippi DUI Penalties
The Southeastern portion of the United States is known for having relaxed laws when it comes to DUI penalties, and Mississippi is no exception when the penalties for infractions are compared to the rest of the nation. While their BAC, or blood-alcohol concentration limits, are similar to those everywhere, minimal jail time is the exception. Drivers operating a vehicle in this state can do so with a BAC percentage that is below.08 percent. Drivers of commercial vehicles must have a BAC that is below .04 percent. Anyone under the age of 21 must have a BAC that is below .02 percent, or they will be subject to the penalties that have been outlined by the Zero Tolerance policies in place.
Despite the fact that Mississippi carries light penalties when it comes to DUIs, Implied Consent laws are still in place. This legislation makes it necessary for drivers to submit for testing of drugs or the presence of alcohol when an arresting officer has reason to suspect that these substances are present in a driver. Failure to submit to testing or the inability of the driver to submit to such testing for any number of physical reasons can result in the following penalties: The first refusal on the part of the driver can result in the automatic suspension of their license for a period of 90 days; the second time that a test is not given can possibly lead to license suspension for the period of one year and a third occurrence can carry a suspension of three years.
Minimal Jail Time
Unlike most states in the nation, Mississippi has no minimal jail time for a driver that is convicted of a DUI for the first time. The second offense comes with a minimal jail time of five days and possible installation of an ignition interlock device instead of vehicle immobilization. The third offense carries a sentence of one year in jail. Mississippi also differs from most states in the nation due to the fact that the impact of a previous conviction on subsequent ones is extremely small. A judge can only consider past DUI convictions for a period of five years when sentencing is carried out. However, there is no breathing room when it comes to pleading for lesser charges. Many states will allow defendants to plea for charges that fall under the category of “wet reckless” driving. This charge is essentially a misdemeanor with the presence of alcohol. This type of plea has been barred by statutes in this state.
Felony DUI in Mississippi
Felony DUI in the state of Mississippi is highly dependent on the driving record of the individual in question. If a person is receiving their third DUI with the last DUI occurring within a five -year period, then the results are an automatic felony offense. Additionally, the bodily injury and or death of another individual while driving intoxicated can result in an automatic felony offense. With a felony conviction comes a fine of at least $2,000, imprisonment for no less than one year and a license suspension of at least five years.