In Mississippi, the penalties you'll face for a DUI conviction depend largely on how many prior convictions you have. In this article, we cover how Mississippi law defines driving under the influence and the penalties for a first, second, and third DUI conviction.
Mississippi's DUI (also called "OUI" or "operating under the influence") laws forbid a person from driving under any of the following circumstances:
In other words, you can be convicted based on actual impairment or the amount of alcohol in your system. (Miss. Code. Ann. § 63-11-30.)
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.
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 first DUI conviction generally carries:
All vehicles owned by the offender must be equipped with an ignition interlock device (IID) or will be immobilized or impounded.
A second DUI conviction within five years generally carries:
However, the driver might be able to obtain a restricted IID license to drive during the revocation period.
A third or subsequent DUI within a lifetime (the five-year washout period doesn't apply) is a felony. A third DUI generally carries:
For most third-offense DUIs, the state will revoke the driver's license for the period of incarceration. When the convicted motorist gets out of jail, he or she will be eligible for only a restricted IID license for three years.
Also, a DUI offender who kills or seriously injures another person while driving under the influence can be charged with an "aggravated DUI." An aggravated DUI conviction generally carries five to 25 years in prison.
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.
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.
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%.
First offense. 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.
Second offense. A second offense carries a $500 fine and a one-year suspension.
Third offense. A third offense carries a $1,000 fine, a two-year license suspension (or until age 21), and requires treatment.
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.