Mississippi’s Drunk Driving Laws and Penalties

Learn about the penalties for a first, second, and third DUI conviction in Mississippi.

Mississippi’s DUI (also called "OUI" or "operating under the influence") laws forbid a person from driving under any of the following circumstances:

  • with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08% or greater (.04% or more if the driver was operating a commercial vehicle)
  • while under the influence of any illegal drug or substance
  • while under the influence of any drug or intoxicant, or
  • while under the influence of intoxicating liquor.

Mississippi law defines “under the influence” as a state of intoxication sufficient to lessen a person’s “normal ability for clarity and control.”

A driver who has a BAC of .08% or more can be convicted of a “per se DUI,” regardless of his or her level of actual impairment. The volume of alcohol necessary to reach .08% can differ depending on the person’s gender and body size and the type of alcohol consumed.

Mississippi DUI Penalties

The judge will decide penalties for a DUI conviction but is limited by certain parameters. These parameters depend on the driver’s number of prior DUIs—including out-of-state convictions—and whether there are certain aggravating factors. First and second-offense DUIs are misdemeanors. For purposes of determining whether an offense is a first or second, only priors within the past five years count. A third or subsequent DUI within a lifetime (the five-year washout period doesn’t apply) is a felony.

1st Offense

2nd Offense

3rd Offense

Jail

Up to 48 hours

5 days to 6 months

1 to 5 years

Fines

$250 to $1,000

$600 to $1,500

$2,000 to $5,000

Community service. A second-offense DUI conviction requires the offender to complete 10 days to 6 months of community service

Non-adjudication. For a first-offense DUI, the driver may be eligible for a “non-adjudication” determination. Under non-adjudication, the driver must complete an alcohol safety program, complete a 120-day ignition interlock device (IID) requirement, and pay various fines and fees. If the driver successfully completes the program, the case will not result in the normal DUI penalties. However, a non-adjudication is counted as a prior DUI conviction if the driver is convicted in the future of another DUI offense.

Treatment. A second or subsequent offense requires the convicted person to complete an in-depth diagnostic assessment for alcohol or drug abuse. The driver must then follow any recommendations such as treatment programs.

Aggravated DUI. An offense that results in injury or death can be charged as an aggravated DUI. For each injury or death, the convicted driver can face five to 25 years in person.

Child endangerment. An impaired driver who transports a passenger under 16 can be charged with a separate misdemeanor for child endangerment. For each child, there can be a separate charge that carries up to $1,000 in fines and a maximum of 12 months in jail. If the child is killed or injured, the charge will be a felony and result in a $10,000 fine and five to 25 years in prison.

Driver’s License Sanctions

Every DUI conviction and chemical test failure (a BAC of .08% or more) is reported to the Commissioner of Public Safety. The Commissioner will then suspend the driver’s license for:

  • 120 days for a first offense
  • one year for a second offense
  • three years for a third offense, and
  • Ten years for a fourth offense.

Restricted license. Prior to suspension, DUI offenders are permitted to apply for a restricted ignition interlock device (IID) license. Applicants must pay the applicable fees and install an IID on all vehicles they drive. Any owned vehicles not equipped with an IID must be immobilized or impounded. A driver with an IID license can continue to drive the IID-equipped vehicle during the DUI license suspension.

All convicted drivers must complete the alcohol safety education program and all other court-ordered requirements to be eligible for license reinstatement.

Implied Consent and Refusing a Chemical or Breath Test in Mississippi

Mississippi’s “implied consent” laws require all drivers lawfully arrested for driving under the influence to submit to a breath or blood test. Drivers who refuse testing face immediate license seizure and a 90-day suspension for the refusal. A driver with a prior refusal or DUI conviction will be suspended for one year.

Underage DUI

Drivers who are younger than 21 years old can be convicted of a separate offense for operating a vehicle with a BAC of .02% to .08%. A first offense results in a $250 fine and a 120-day license suspension and requires the offender to complete an alcohol safety program. The driver may also have to attend a victim impact panel. A second offense carries a $500 fine and a one-year suspension. And a third offense carries a $1,000 fine, a two-year license suspension (or until age 21), and requires treatment.

Plea Negotiations

Mississippi prohibits plea negotiations to reduce the penalties of a DUI. However, non-adjudication and other agreements can help reduce DUI penalties. Visit with a DUI attorney to discuss your options and possible outcomes.

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