Under the BAC Limit, But Still Facing Mississippi DUI Problems?

Mississippi DUI laws have had some changes in the last few years to increase not only the penalties but the instances in which you can be charged with a DUI. With the number of DUIs in this country still very high, states have cracked down to discourage drunk driving, and increasing the burdens associated with a DUI conviction.

The national blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level that is considered intoxication is .08%. For a Mississippi DUI charge, you do not necessarily have to have a BAC that’s over this limit. If you are exhibiting signs of driving under the influence, such as swerving, drifting left to center, slow or excessive speed, or erratic driving, or if you fail a road sobriety, test you will be charged with a DUI regardless of your BAC level.

For CDL (commercial driver’s license) holders the drunk driving BAC limit is reduced to .04%. If you are a CDL driver, a conviction will most likely end your career. Underage drinkers also need to beware. As you are already breaking the law by drinking in the first place, driving afterward is one of the worst decisions you can make. If your BAC is found to be .02% or higher, you will be charged with a Mississippi DUI and it can affect everything from your education to your career.

You can also be subjected to higher penalties if your BAC is excessive in Mississippi, including jail time and a longer ignition interlock requirement. This along with other aggravating circumstances can result in your Mississippi DUI conviction becoming even more burdensome to you and your life. A DUI conviction will change your life, and possibly the lives of others, forever.

Ready to Drive after a Mississippi DUI?

driving after a mississippi duiDid you know that, if you’re arrested for drunk driving in Mississippi, your driver’s license can be suspended even if you are not later convicted of the crime? Mississippi is one of the 42 states that have administrative license revocation (ALR) – the power of law enforcement to suspend your license immediately if your BAC is over 0.08% or you refuse to take a sobriety test. So even if you’re never convicted in a courtroom, choosing to drink and drive will always mean that consequences will follow.

Whether you’re convicted in court, have a suspension through the DMV, or both, a Mississippi DUI is serious, and subsequent offenses will increase your penalties. If you have a third conviction within five years, your third conviction will be a felony, and that will follow you for the rest of your life. The legal penalties for a Mississippi DUI can include jail time, fines, license suspension or revocation, driver education program, substance abuse treatment program, and the installation of an ignition interlock device.

To regain your driving privileges once you been convicted of a DUI in Mississippi, you must complete the following steps:

  1. Serve your jail and/or suspension time.
  2. Attend the Mississippi Alcohol Safety Education Program (MASEP).
  3. Get a copy of your Motor Vehicle Report.
  4. Obtain proof of hardship and qualify for the hardship license.
  5. Provide proof of financial responsibility or SR-22 insurance.
  6. File a petition for a hardship license.
  7. Pay all fees and fines.
  8. Have an ignition interlock device installed.

Remember to report in for monitoring and maintenance of your ignition interlock device. The device is a requirement of keeping your hardship license, as is attending each appointment. The device records data that indicates your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) when driving, the number of times you drive, how far you drive, and if any attempts to tamper with the device were made.

Tough Times and Mississippi Ignition Interlock Violations

mississippi ignition interlock violationsWhen you have a Mississippi ignition interlock device, you’ve been given back your independence and freedom to drive… as long as you do so while sober. For any drunk driving conviction, you will likely have an interlock for some time, which is a good thing. You do not have to depend on others for transportation, and you can keep your job and other obligations in check. The thing you want to make sure you stay away from are any Mississippi ignition interlock violations.

Mississippi ignition interlock violations include:

  • Asking another person to blow into your ignition interlock to start your vehicle, or during a rolling retest.
  • Attempting to tamper with or circumvent the ignition interlock device.
  • Not installing the device as ordered by the court.
  • Blowing off any service or calibration appointments.

Any Mississippi ignition interlock violations will cause the offender additional consequences, including a fine between $250 – $1,000 and a possible jail sentence of up to one year, or both.

Other violations with a Mississippi interlock include blood alcohol concentration (BAC) violations. Simply stated, the device is set to detect any amount of alcohol in the bloodstream, just like a police breathalyzer. Even a trace amount can be recorded and stored in the data, but it is the BAC that exceeds the set limit that can be the biggest problem. Most interlocks are set to disable an ignition system between .02-.03 percent BAC, or around the same amount of alcohol in one standard drink. If you fail your test due to a BAC reading, you’ll face additional time with the interlock device or removal from the program entirely.

Keeping your freedom to drive is the idea behind the interlock. Otherwise, you’d just be back to bumming rides from friends after a Mississippi DUI. Don’t let those violations cost you your freedom. Stay sober and let your interlock do its job, so you can keep doing yours.

Administrative and Criminal Penalties for a Second Mississippi DUI

second mississippi DUIA second Mississippi DUI conviction raises the stakes when it comes to the consequences you will face in court. Not only did you drink and drive, but you did it again, and within a relatively short period of time if you have been formally charged with a second Mississippi DUI. The state considers that second offense as a possible indication of a deeper problem with alcohol.

Mississippi has a five-year DUI look-back or washout period –  the state counts only those offenses that occur during the previous five years when determining a second or subsequent offense.

Criminal penalties for a second Mississippi DUI include:

  • A minimum of 5 days to one year in jail.
  • Community service (10 days – 1 year).
  • $600 – $1,000 in fines.
  • Suspended license for three years.

On top of that, you will face administrative penalties through the Mississippi Department of Public Safety (DPS), such as:

  • A 2-year license suspension.
  • A 3-year SR-22 (proof of financial responsibility) on file.
  • An ignition interlock and restricted license, once criminal penalties are satisfied, for the duration of the suspension time or as ordered by the court.

You could also be ordered to forfeit your vehicle after a second Mississippi DUI conviction.

With a second drunk driving conviction may come the time to rethink your choices about alcohol. Mississippi has been vigilant about maintaining strict consequences for any DUI, and once you cross the line into second or higher offenses, you can expect to be restricted far beyond just an ignition interlock requirement and some court costs. The burden of safe driving rests on each of us, and instead of facing those consequences, we can all just agree to plan better before leaving for the night. A second Mississippi DUI, or any drunk driving incident, is not worth the risk we take to ourselves, our passengers and others on the roads.

Driving After a First Offense Mississippi DUI

first offense Mississippi DUIA first-offense Mississippi DUI doesn’t mean you’ll never drive your own vehicle again. While it is true that in most states a first-offense DUI will result in the suspension of your driving privileges, Mississippi allows offenders the opportunity to apply for a hardship license or restricted driver’s license as long as you meet your state’s criteria.

Mississippi DUI code states:

63-11-30. Operation under influence of alcohol or other impairing substance

(1) It is unlawful for any person to drive or otherwise operate a vehicle within this state who (a) is under the influence of intoxicating liquor;

You could be eligible for a restricted license after a Mississippi DUI if you:

  • Serve the term of your license suspension or jail time as ordered by the court.
  • Complete the Mississippi Alcohol Education Program (MASEP).
  • Provide proof of insurance (SR-22).
  • Pay all court-ordered fees and fines.
  • Provide proof of your ignition interlock installation.

An ignition interlock device ensures that you will not repeat your Mississippi DUI mistake. By providing a breath sample before you start your car, and periodic rolling re-tests while the vehicle is in motion, you are able to resume an independent life while providing the court proof of your commitment to remaining sober while driving.

Once you satisfy the requirements for a Mississippi hardship license, you can petition the court to have your privileges reinstated, provided you have a reason to keep driving. Acceptable reasons include your employment status, family or health care matters. Once approved, you will be given the freedom to drive legally again, as long as you use and maintain your ignition interlock device as ordered.

Mississippi isn’t the only state that allows some DUI offenders the ability to keep driving, as long as there is an ignition interlock device installed. Ignition interlock expansion is happening across the country, allowing more offenders a better outcome after a DUI while ensuring that the streets remain safe from any bad decisions made under the influence of alcohol.

Tampering With a Mississippi Ignition Interlock Means Trouble

Mississippi ignition interlock tamperingAfter a Mississippi DUI, you will have an ignition interlock requirement. You may not see how the device is a powerful tool to help get your life back together, but it definitely allows you to retain much of your freedom and independence. For some, there is still lingering frustration with the requirement, or even just the process of using a Mississippi ignition interlock device. That frustration may lead to trying to tamper with the device or circumvent the process, a road that is just going to increase the overall frustration felt with an interlock.

A Mississippi ignition interlock device stores data that you may not even consider. Primarily, interlock devices measure and store information about your blood alcohol concentration (BAC). They also record information about how many times you tried to start your car, or attempted to start your car. How long you drove each time, the mileage and any information from your rolling retests. Attempts to tamper with the device are also recorded, and all of that data is sent to MASEP and/or the court.

If you are found guilty of tampering with the device or trying to circumvent the device will face the following penalties:

(ii) A violation of this paragraph (e) is a misdemeanor and upon conviction the violator shall be fined an amount not less than Two Hundred Fifty Dollars ($ 250.00) nor more than One Thousand Dollars ($ 1,000.00) or imprisoned for not more than one (1) year, or both.

The cost of a DUI is more than a Mississippi ignition interlock and some court costs and fines. Life changes after a DUI, and it can be a difficult road to recovery. As long as you use your interlock as instructed and pledge to only drive if you are sober, you have the best tools in your back pocket to move past your conviction and back into your best life ever.

Mississippi Ignition Interlock Credit for Time Served

Mississippi ignition interlock creditAdministrative processes can take a lot of time, especially with a Mississippi DUI. From the DMV to a court hearing, there’s a lot of waiting in between, and not much you can do to get on with your life, except to install a Mississippi ignition interlock device. If you submitted to and failed a chemical test your license will be suspended for a minimum of 90 days.  The arresting officer will issue you a temporary permit that will allow you to drive up until your DUI criminal trial.  If your trial date gets pushed out, you may request an extension of your temporary permit through the court.

State law says that you can install a Mississippi ignition interlock device (you will need to be eligible through the DMV) even if you haven’t been ordered to by the court. If you go ahead and do that, once you get into court, you’ll be credited for the time you’ve already spent with the device.  A person who installs an ignition interlock device and obtains an interlock restricted license before conviction or non-adjudication shall be given credit for the time period the ignition interlock device has been in use at the time of sentencing or non-adjudication. A non-adjudication is where the judge withholds a judgment of guilt after a guilty plea or trial.

To qualify for a non-adjudication, a petition for non-adjudication must be filed with the Court before conviction, and whether your case will be non-adjudicated is left to the discretion of the Court. If the Court permits the non-adjudication, the person will be ordered to pay a $250 fee, pay all fines for conviction, and complete an alcohol safety education program. After successfully completing the program, the person can continue driving if he or she installs an ignition interlock device on every vehicle driven by that person, obtains an interlock restricted license, and maintains it for 120 days. After the 120 days, the person must obtain proof from the interlock vendor that there were no violations of the interlock device during that time. After all of these conditions are satisfied, the court will enter an order of non-adjudication.  A DUI is the last thing you want, but if it happens, you’re really going to want that Mississippi ignition interlock in place.


No Alabama Alcohol, More Mississippi Underage Drunk Driving?

More Mississippi underage drinking? Thanks, AlabamaSpring break is headed our way, even as many of us are already enjoying spring-like weather, despite what that pesky groundhog told us. With such an early start to spring this year, college students are raring to get their spring break fix, especially those with coastal plans. But Alabama seems to have a different idea this year, with new laws to keep the Alabama beaches more family-friendly than ever. As a result, those laws may also increase Mississippi underage drunk driving.

This is why we can’t have nice things.

In 2016, Gulf Shores, Alabama, had a problem with its beaches, particularly where spring breakers were drinking. So this year, the state is banning alcohol from its public beaches, allowing for safe spring break celebrations and selfies. Gulf Shores isn’t too far from Gulf Port, Mississippi, at least not when you’re planning for a bombdiggity spring break trip. Mississippi isn’t banning alcohol from its beaches, making it an even more shiny destination for college spring break partiers who don’t pay attention to Mississippi underage drunk driving laws or the problems that can occur when intoxicated. While tourist seasons are important for both communities, Gulf Shores may have a better plan for outlasting the seasonal flow of students, alcohol, and the problems that occur when those two forces combine before the age of 21.

What happens on spring break can follow you around for the rest of your life, no matter where you spend your week away from school. A Mississippi underage drunk driving conviction (or any kind of DUI from any state) can affect your ability to get a job, housing or entry into grad school. Spring break is just around the corner, make sure you come out on the other side just as smart as you were going into the fun.

Doorbell Alcohol Could End Mississippi DUI Problems

alcohol delivery avoids mississippi duiWho hasn’t been happily celebrating at home with friends, loved ones and an empty bottle of wine when the brilliant idea of home-delivered alcohol comes up? Anyone? In Mississippi, that idea could become a reality, but not without a few concerns about the safety of leaving a box of vino at the door of a private residence.

Drinking at home could reduce Mississippi DUI rates.

Mississippi lawmakers feel doorbell deliveries could invite minors to order, possess and/or consume alcohol. Underage drinking is a valid concern, even in a state where it is still legal to drink while driving under certain circumstances. But, alcohol isn’t the only adult-geared product that is delivered to residences that require an appropriate signature, and those types of deliveries have been successful transactions for decades now. Allowing home delivery of alcohol gives adults more freedom to stay home and safe, avoiding a Mississippi DUI, ignition interlock requirement and worse.

Among arguments against the delivery service is the laws that determine whether a Mississippi county is wet, dry or somewhere in between. Almost half of the state’s counties are dry, and some don’t even allow a person to transport alcohol through the county. Also, less taxes can be collected with home—delivered alcohol. Those regulations could impede doorbell delivery of alcohol, increasing administrative and compliance efforts by the state’s alcohol regulatory agency.

A consistent approach to alcohol and the crimes that can occur as a result of lenient laws may be a better approach than fighting against home delivery of wine or alcohol in Mississippi. While we can appreciate the convenience of alcohol at our doorstep, it is hard to ignore the obvious safety considerations that service brings about. A doorbell delivery service won’t end Mississippi DUI, of course. It could help others plan for a fun night of drinking at home instead of putting the rest of us at risk on the roads.

What is a Mississippi ALR?

Mississippi ALR DUIAlmost every state in the U.S. has an administrative license revocation (ALR) policy for drunk drivers. ALR is a stopgap solution between the time you’re arrested for DUI and when you face a judge in court. Since it could be weeks before you get into court, Mississippi ALR gives you some options to get your affairs in order and position yourself ahead of the curve.

Specifically, a Mississippi ALR means:

  • If your BAC (blood alcohol concentration) is above .08, or if you refuse BAC testing, your license will be suspended or revoked immediately.
  • You can still have administrative (DMV) penalties even if your DUI case is dismissed in court.
  • You have 10 days after your ALR suspension/revocation to challenge your case with the DMV, you have a temporary hold on your license restriction during that time and can drive legally.
  • If you do not challenge the ALR, your license will be suspended for 90 days on the 11th day after your DUI stop/ALR revocation.
  • After 30 days, you are allowed to install an ignition interlock device in order to maintain employment, family, health and legal obligations.

Mississippi allows you the privilege of driving after a DUI, but there are definitely hurdles to getting back to where you were before your DUI. The state requires ignition interlock devices for all offenders who are convicted in court of a DUI. As such, you get your freedom back, along with a lesson on the importance of remaining sober while doing so. There isn’t any leeway when it comes to your interlock requirement through the DMV or court system… or both.

47 other states in the U.S. have ALR policies that reflect Mississippi’s stance on interlocks and drunk drivers. These policies are highly recommended by MADD, too, reducing the chance that an accused drunk driver could commit another crime before they even make it into court.