Oxford, MS DUI Attorneys
Driving while under the influence (DUI), often called operating while under the influence, is a serious offense in Mississippi. If you are arrested for a DUI, one of the first things that you should do is contact a skilled and knowledgeable Mississippi DUI attorney. At the office of Smith Murphy Law, our DUI lawyers have extensive experience working on cases like yours and can provide the level of defense you’re looking for. Reach out to us today to learn more.
Defining DUI in Mississippi
Mississippi lists the state’s impaired driving offenses in Mississippi Code Section 63-11-30(1). Offenses include operating a motor vehicle while:
- Under the influence of an intoxicating liquor—also known as a “common law” DUI
- Under the influence of any other substance which has impaired the person’s ability to operate a motor vehicle
- Under the influence of any substance that’s listed under the state’s controlled substances law
- Having a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 percent or higher (for those ages 21 and above) or .02 percent or higher (for those who are below the age of 21), or .04 percent or higher (for commercial vehicle operators)
Penalties for a DUI Offense
The penalties for a DUI offense vary depending on whether the offense is a first-time or a subsequent offense. For a first-time offense in Mississippi, potential penalties following a conviction are:
- 48 hours in jail (this is often waived in substitution for a victim impact panel)
- Fine of between $250 and $1000
- Attendance in an alcohol education program
- 120-day license suspension—the installation of an interlock ignition device may be possible in substitution of the suspension
For a second or subsequent offense, the penalties become more severe. Penalties for a second-offense DUI include:
- Five days to six months in jail
- Fine between $600 and $1,500
- 10 days to six months of required community service
- Required in-depth diagnostic assessment for alcohol abuse
- One-year driver’s license suspension
The penalties become more serious with subsequent offenses. For example, the license suspension period is 10 years for a fourth offense.
Finally, it’s important to talk about the consequences for someone who is under the legal age of consumption. As mentioned earlier, if you are under 21 years of age, you can be convicted for DUI with a BAC of .02 percent or above. A first-offense conviction will result in a 120-day license suspension and a fine of $250; you will also be required to participate in an alcohol safety program and may have to attend a victim impact panel.
What Happens if I Refuse a Blood or Breath Alcohol Test?
The prosecution does not necessarily need to have the results of a BAC test in order to secure a DUI conviction, but these results are a powerful form of evidence that can certainly strengthen the prosecution’s case. For this reason, you may refuse to submit to a blood or breath alcohol test in hopes that without the results of such a test, the prosecution will not have enough evidence to convict you beyond a reasonable doubt. While this can work in some cases, note that there are legal consequences for failing to submit to a blood/breath alcohol test.
At the time that you get your driver’s license in Mississippi, you agree to the state’s implied consent laws. This means that by virtue of being a licensed driver in the state, you are consenting to chemical testing if you are arrested for DUI.
If you refuse testing and breach the state’s implied consent laws, you will face harsh consequences. The penalties for violating implied consent laws include an immediate license seizure and a 90-day license suspension for a first-time offense. The license suspension period is increased to one year for a subsequent offense.
The Role of a Mississippi DUI Attorney
Being charged with a DUI offense is a serious situation. A conviction can significantly disrupt your life and your future opportunities. For young people, it could mean being denied admittance into a university, or even a university suspension or expulsion. For everyone, it could make it more difficult to obtain employment or other opportunities.
Having one’s license suspended can also be extremely inconvenient, making it difficult to get to work, run errands, etc. And of course, the potential jail time and large fines are concerning, too.
When you work with a Mississippi DUI attorney, your attorney will be responsible for advocating for you and protecting your rights and interests. Ways that our DUI lawyers will help you and your case include:
- Review the prosecution’s evidence against you
- Identify weaknesses in the prosecution’s evidence—depending on what is appropriate for your case, this could include stating that a roadside sobriety test was improperly conducted, that a breathalyzer test was defective, or that police lacked grounds to pull you over in the first place
- Advise you regarding how to proceed, including whether accepting a plea deal with reduced penalties makes sense
- Explain all potential penalties you’re facing, as well as all legal strategies that exist for your case
- Protect your Constitutional rights throughout the process
Call Smith Murphy Law Today
We know how scary it is to be facing DUI charges. If you have recently been arrested and charged with driving under the influence, the first thing that you should do is call our law firm directly for the legal counsel you need during this difficult time.
Our lawyers will work hard to defend you against the charges and secure the best outcome possible. You can reach us today to get started at 662-832-7879. You can also visit our law office in person or send us a message online to request more information.