Mississippi law requires you to take a breath, blood, or urine test if you are arrested for a DUI. Mississippi’s “implied consent” law says that if you are lawfully arrested by an officer who has probable cause to believe that you have been driving under the influence of alcohol, then you consent to taking a chemical test of your breath for the purpose of determining your blood alcohol content (BAC). Likewise, if the officer has probable cause that you have been driving under the influence of drugs, then you consent to taking a chemical test of your breath, blood or urine.
The test must be taken as soon as possible from when you were last driving, unless you just finished your drink or swallowed a drug right before your arrest. The officer has to wait at least 15 minutes from the time you ate or drank something that impairs your driving to give you a test. Once you submit to the officer’s tests, then you have the right to get additional tests done by a medical professional of your choice. You do not have the right to speak to your lawyer until after you have been arrested, taken to the police station, and booked.
You can find Mississippi’s implied consent law at Mississippi Code 63-11-5.
Refusing to Take the Test
After your arrest, the officer should tell you that your license will be suspended for at least 90 days and up to one year if you refuse to take the test. If this is your first refusal and you have not been convicted previously of a DUI, then the suspension lasts for 90 days. If you have had a prior DUI conviction, then the suspension will last for one year.
Although the state generally can’t force you to take a test, you have no right to refuse if you were involved in an accident that causes a death, or if you are rendered unconscious or are killed. If you were unconscious or dead when the test was taken, then the results can’t be used against you in court without your consent (or the consent of your representative if you are dead). There is a catch, however. You can keep that evidence out of court only if you agree to a suspension of your license. It would be as if you had been given the opportunity to refuse in the first place and you took it. Consequently, you have to pay the penalty for refusal.
To read more about the penalties for refusing a test, see Mississippi Code 63-11-5.
Should You Refuse to Take a Mandatory DUI Test in Mississippi?
It usually does not help you to refuse to take a blood or breath test when you are arrested for a DUI. In Mississippi, you will be fined at least $250 and your license will be suspended. You could also spend time in jail. These consequences are more severe than those for refusing a test. Still, refusing the test does not guarantee that you won’t be convicted – you could be found guilty of a DUI even if your refusal means that the state does not have proof that your BAC was over.08%, the legal limit for those over 21. In fact, the prosecution can use your refusal against you by arguing that you refused the test because you knew that you were intoxicated and guilty of DUI.
Get Help With Your DUI
If you have been arrested on a DUI charge in Mississippi or any other state, get help from an experienced DUI attorney. Unlike other traffic related charges, which might be worth fighting without a lawyer, conviction for a DUI has serious consequences – especially if the incident involved injury to people or property, or if it’s your second or subsequent DUI. To avoid or reduce the consequences, your best bet is to find an attorney who is knowledgeable about your state’s laws and about how the system works in your county’s court.