Facing DUI charges in Mississippi can be a challenging and frightening experience. DUI offenders face possible jail time, community service, drug and alcohol education programs, and steep fines. The social and personal consequences of a DUI can also greatly impact your life as you must deal with the increased insurance premiums, more limited career options, and social stigma that are associated with a DUI conviction. When facing DUI charges, it is often wise to consult an experienced lawyer for advice on combating the penalties associated with a conviction.
At The Law Office Of M. Devin Whitt, our attorney leverages 15 years of legal experience to offer effective DUI representation to clients in courts throughout the State of Mississippi. Dedicated to helping you protect your wallet, your freedom and your future from these charges, our staff works diligently to examine the prosecution's case for weaknesses or discrepancies that can be exploited in your favor. Our knowledge of Mississippi courts, prosecutors and judges offers us the ability to provide the advice you need to make informed decisions on your defense.
Contact our office online or call 601-607-5055 to schedule a free consultation to discuss your DUI defense today.Consequences of Conviction for DUI in Mississippi
The penalties for DUI in Mississippi are generally, as follows:
DUI (MCA 63-11-30)
- 1st Offense: $250 to $1000 fine
- 2nd Offense: $600-$1500 fine
- 3rd Offense (Felony DUI): $2000-$5000 fine
.08 (adults) BAC is legally intoxicated for purpose of the statute and establishes DUI per se.
- 1st Offense: Up to 48 hours imprisonment or attendance of victim impact panel (in Court’s discretion). MASEP attended within 6 months of sentencing
- 2nd Offense: 5 days to 6 months imprisonment and community service for 10 days to 6 months.
- 3rd Offense (Felony DUI): 1 to 5 years in Penitentiary
DUI conviction stays on your driving record for 5 years for purpose of penalty enhancements
- 1st Offense: Vehicle ignition interlock with restricted drivers license or license suspension for 120 days. Possibility of expunction or non-adjudication for first time offenders
- 2nd Offense: Vehicle ignition interlock with restricted drivers license or license suspension for 1 year.
- 3rd Offense (Felony DUI): License suspension for full jail sentence, then eligible for only vehicle ignition interlock license for 3 years.
DUI (MCA 63-11-30(3) (a)
- 1st Offense: $250 fine
- 2nd Offense: Up to $500.00 fine
- 3rd Offense: Up to $1000.00 fine
.02-.07 BAC is legally intoxicated for purpose of the Zero Tolerance for Minors statute and establishes DUI per se. For levels of .08 BAC or more, minors will be treated as adults.
- 1st Offense: Vehicle ignition interlock or license suspension for 120 days. Mandatory MASEP within 6 months and possible attendance of victim impact panel
- 2nd Offense: Vehicle ignition interlock or license suspension for 1 year
- 3rd Offense: License suspension until minor reaches the age of 21 or for 2 years, whichever is longer
DUI conviction stays on your driving record for 5 years for purpose of penalty enhancements
- 1st Offense: Possibility of non-adjudication of charges for first time offenders under 21 years of age
Being an experienced DUI attorney in Mississippi, many people come into my office wondering how to keep a DUI off their record. After a first DUI offense, one important way is nonadjudication. The concept of nonadjudication was first passed by the Mississippi Legislature in 2014, and law has gone through numerous changes since that time in an attempt to fine tune the system. “Nonadjudication” simply means that the court withholds a finding of guilt and sentencing and allows a person to enter a nonadjudication program conditioned upon the successful completion of the requirements imposed by the court. It can be initiated upon the filing of a petition for nonadjudication or at the discretion of the court. There is no maximum BAC to qualify for nonadjudication under the statute, however some judges have their own standards in place. Under the current version of the law, nonadjudication of a first offense DUI charge is available only to a person:
- Who is a first-time offender of Mississippi’s DUI law;
- Who has successfully completed all terms and conditions imposed by the court after the defendant’s placement in a nonadjudication program;
- Who was not operating a commercial vehicle at the time of the offense;
- Who has no prior or pending convictions of DUI law; and
- Who provides the court with justification as to why nonadjudication is appropriate.
Failure to successfully complete the requirements imposed by the court will result in the person being kicked out of the adjudication program and being found guilty of DUI. The person will also be assessed the cost of the nonadjudication fee as well as all fines and penalties associated with conviction, and must attend and complete an alcohol safety education program.
Mississippi takes nonadjudication of DUI offenses very seriously, shown by the many pitfalls one can fall into while in the nonadjudication program. Our office is prepared to guide you through the process so that you may make the best of a bad situation when dealing with a DUI charge.Expunction of Prior DUI Offenses (Miss. Code Ann. § 63-11-30(13))
Beyond keeping a DUI off of a person’s record is removing the conviction altogether. For first time offenders, Mississippi law affords an opportunity of having that charge expunged, meaning that the charge is wiped off their record. That person must not have been the holder of a commercial driver’s license or learning permit at the time of the offense, and may petition the court for an order to expunge that DUI charge from their record 5 years after successful completion of all terms and conditions of the sentence imposed for the conviction. Expunction of a DUI conviction is available only to a person:
- Who has successfully completed all terms and conditions of the sentence imposed for conviction;
- Who did not refuse to submit to a blood or breath test;
- Whose BAC tested below .16%
- Who does not have any prior or pending convictions of DUI;
- Who has provided the court with justification as to why the conviction should be expunged; and
- Who has not previously had a nonadjudication or expunction of a DUI conviction.
Removing a DUI conviction from a criminal record is a great reward for completion of these steps, and as you can see, expunction can be a difficult process subject to many hazards. Our office is fully capable of guiding you through the expunction process, allowing you to put your DUI conviction behind you and move forward with your life.Ignition Interlock Devices (Miss. Code Ann. § 63-11-31)
Many people are probably familiar with ignition interlock devices. These devices, regulated by the Department of Public Safety, prevent a vehicle from starting if the driver’s BAC exceeds the setting on the device. A person may install one of these devices and apply for an “Interlock-restricted license,” which is a license limiting the person to operation of only vehicles equipped with an ignition-interlock device. To obtain an interlock-restricted license, a person must be otherwise qualified to operate a motor vehicle, submit proof that an ignition-interlock device is installed and operating on all motor vehicles that person operates, and pay the license fee.
When limited to driving only under an interlock-restricted license, a violation of that license such as operating a motor vehicle without an ignition-interlock device, getting another person to register their breath so the car will start, or tampering with an ignition-interlock device is a misdemeanor, and can result in a fine of between $250 and $1000, imprisonment for up to 6 months, or both.
Ignition-interlock devices present a way to allow you to keep your driving privileges while atoning for driving under the influence. Responsibly operating a car for the duration of your interlock-restricted license shows that you can be trusted with full driving privileges once again.An Experienced Approach to DUI Defense
When choosing a lawyer to represent you for a DUI in Mississippi, it is important to select an attorney who has experience addressing these types of cases. Your attorney should be able to determine if your rights were violated during your arrest, assess the validity of your blood alcohol content (BAC) test, and have a thorough understanding of Mississippi's drunk driving laws.
M. Devin Whitt is an experienced criminal defense and DUI attorney practicing in the Jackson, Mississippi area. Whether you are in Madison County, Hinds County, Rankin County, or any other county in Mississippi, or one of the cities such as Madison, Canton, Ridgeland, Brandon, Jackson, Clinton, Byram, Raymond, Edwards, Utica, Terry, Bolton, Learned, Pearl, Richland, Flowood, Florence, Pelahatchie, or any other city in Mississippi, his office will be happy to answer any questions you have and fight for your rights when something horrible such as this occurs.
Contact our office to schedule your free consultation today.