Alcohol and drugs never go well with driving. Even if you think you can go home safely, there’s no guarantee of that.
If that doesn’t make you avoid drunk driving, then surely the Mississippi law will.
There are strict DUI laws in the state. And if you break those laws, expect harsh penalties.
Today, we’re going to tell you everything you need to know about Mississippi DUI laws and penalties. We’ll also answer some of the most frequently asked questions about DUI.
So let’s dive right in!
DUI Laws in Mississippi
There are several laws related to DUI in Mississippi. These include:
- Illegal BAC levels
- Zero Tolerance Law
- Implied Consent Law
- Drugs and Driving
Let’s take a close look at each one.
Illegal BAC Levels
Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) levels determine the amount of alcohol in your system in terms of its volume per mass of blood. Now, your BAC level is used to identify whether you have been drunk driving or not.
In Mississippi, the illegal BAC levels are:
- 0.08% and above for drivers aged 21 and above
- 0.04% and above for drivers that hold a commercial license
Does that mean that you won’t have a DUI if your BAC level is lower?
Technically, yes. However, you won’t know your BAC level until you are pulled over by a police officer. This means that you are already showing signs of drunk driving.
To be safe, just don’t drink and drive.
Zero Tolerance Law
Since the legal drinking age in Mississippi is 21, you can expect stricter laws for underage drinkers.
Called the Zero Tolerance Law, it states that the illegal BAC level for minors (below 21 years old) is at 0.02%. This means that the smallest amount of alcohol in your blood will already be a DUI.
And yes, harsher penalties are given to minors when they are charged with DUI.
Implied Consent Law
The Implied Consent Law, as its name suggests, implies that if you are operating a motor vehicle on any Mississippi road, you have already given consent to subject yourself to a breath, blood, or urine test for your BAC level.
So if you are pulled over by a police officer and asked to submit to a BAC test, you are required to comply.
However, know that you can refuse to take the test on the spot. Instead, you can get tested by a private institution.
Drugs and Driving
Unlike alcohol, drugs don’t have a metric to identify how “drugged” you are to be convicted of a DUI.
In general, you can be convicted of a DUI if it can be proven that your driving ability is impaired due to the drugs that you took. And yes, even if you are taking prescription drugs, this doesn’t protect you from getting convicted.
In other words, all kinds of drugs, illegal or legal, prescribed or not, can impair your driving. If it’s proven that they have, you will get a DUI.
DUI Penalties in Mississippi
As we said, the DUI penalties in Mississippi are very harsh.
And for good reason.
Check out the penalties for each offense of DUI for non-commercial drivers that have a BAC level of 0.08% and above:
|Offense||Conviction||Fine||Jail Time||License Suspension|
|1st offense||Misdemeanor||$250-$1,000||Max of 48 hours||120-day suspension or 120 days with an interlock-restricted license|
|2nd offense||Misdemeanor||$600-$1,000||At least 10 days||1-year suspension or 1-year with an interlock-restricted license|
|3rd or subsequent offenses within 5 years||Felony||$2,000- $5,000||1-5 years||3-year suspension or 3 years with an interlock-restricted license|
Under the Zero Tolerance Law, penalties for minors found with a 0.02%-0.08% BAC level are as follows:
|1st offense||At least $250||120-day suspension or 120 days with an interlock-restricted license|
|2nd offense||Up to $500||1-year suspension or 1-year with an interlock-restricted license|
|3rd or subsequent offenses within 5 years||Up to $1,000||3-year suspension or 3 years with an interlock-restricted license|
If you’re a minor and your BAC level is above 0.08%, the penalties will follow the regular adult DUI penalties (first table).
Moreover, whether you’re an adult or minor, if you refuse to take a BAC level test, an additional 90-day license suspension is given on top of your DUI penalty.
Frequently Asked Questions
As promised, we have a list of FAQs that can give you more information about Mississippi DUI laws.
Is first offense DUI a felony in Mississippi?
Your first DUI offense is usually noted as a misdemeanor. However, your first offense can be a felony if it results in an accident, injury, or death.
How long does a DUI stay on your record in Mississippi?
In Mississippi, a DUI will stay on your driving record for 5 years. After 5 years on your driving record, your DUI can be expunged.
As for your criminal record, it will stay there forever.
Can a DUI be expunged in MS?
Yes, but only on your first offense. To do this, you have to request it at your county’s court. By this time, you should have completed all the penalties given to you for your first offense and should not have had any more offenses.
How do you beat a DUI in Mississippi?
To beat a DUI, you must prove any of the following:
- Mistakes made when you were arrested
- Inaccurate breathalyzer, blood, or urine tests
- Medical conditions
- Other technicalities of DUI laws
NOTE: This is not an exhaustive list.
To make your case, it’s best to consult with an attorney handling DUI cases.
Is your license suspended immediately after a DUI in Mississippi?
Once you’re convicted of a DUI, your license will be automatically suspended. The license suspension starts at 120 days on your first offense.
The only way for your license to not be suspended immediately is if you file for a petition for your DUI conviction.
How can I get my license back after a DUI in Mississippi?
If your license was suspended, you need to complete all the penalties given by the court before applying for reinstatement. This includes fines, jail time, and the alcohol safety program.
You must also have a clear record since the suspension.
What happens if you refuse a breathalyzer in Mississippi?
According to the Implied Consent Law, you will be given a 90-day license suspension, whether you were really drunk driving or not.
What is aggravated DUI in Mississippi?
An aggravated DUI is when you cause injury or death to a person/s when you are driving under the influence. Penalties are severe, with up to 25 years in prison.
Drunk and drugged driving is never safe, we already know that.
But now we also know that the DUI laws in Mississippi are very strict and the penalties very severe.
Nobody wants to face that.
So whether for the sake of safety or avoiding the penalties, do not drink or do drugs if you’re going to drive.
Always be a safe and responsible driver!