DUI Laws in Mississippi Summary
If you are arrested in Mississippi for driving under the influence (DUI) and you refuse a breath, blood or urine test, you basically have two cases. First there is the criminal case where a DUI conviction can result in fines, jail time, mandatory alcohol education programs, and more. The other case is the administrative hearing where the Department of Public Safety attempts to suspend your license for refusing the blood, breath or urine test.
Coxwell & Associates can answer any questions that you or someone you care about has about a DUI charge. You can contact Coxwell & Associates by calling 601-948-1600. Our lawyers have handled countless DUI cases over the years and have acquired valuable experience that can help you with your DUI defense.
Please visit our DUI for the Business Man page for additional information.DUI: The Basics
In Mississippi, it is illegal to drive while under the influence of alcohol or while having a blood alcohol level of .08% or more. If you are under 21, having a blood alcohol level of .02% or more is considered illegal. The legal limit is .04% for those driving commercial vehicles.
If someone is arrested in Mississippi and has a blood alcohol content of .08% or greater, their driver's license will be seized. You receive a temporary driving permit pending your DUI trial and this temporary license may be extended by requesting an extension through the court to allow you to drive until your court date.Breath Test Refusal Hearing
If you are charged with DUI in Mississippi and you refused to submit to a breath, blood, or urine test, the Department of Public Safety will attempt to suspend your license or privilege to drive for 90 days to one year. This suspension will occur PRIOR to any criminal trial for DUI (in most cases) and will be automatically entered against you unless you appeal the suspension within 10 calendar days of the post mark of the letter of intent to suspend. Filing an appeal does not postpone the suspension.
The temporary license you receive when you refuse a test is valid for only forty five days from the date of the arrest. This temporary license cannot be renewed or extended for any period of time. The test refusal hearing is conducted by the County Court Judge or a Circuit Court Judge (in those Counties which do not have County Court judges) in the county of your arrest. There will not be a jury and the judge will announce the decision at the end of the hearing. The burden is on the state to prove that you were operating your vehicle while under the influence of intoxicating beverages (or other substances) and that you refused to submit to a valid blood, breath or urine test. The burden of proof is not as great as in a criminal trial ("beyond a reasonable doubt").
Instead, the State has to prove their case by a "preponderance of the evidence," which means "more likely than not." The State is required to show, among other things, that the officer had "probable cause" to stop your vehicle. Many DUI refusal cases have been won where the officer did not have probable cause to stop the vehicle. The hearing is required to determine if you will be able to retain your driving privileges until the end of your DUI case. This hearing offers a great opportunity to cross-examine the officer under oath about the facts of your case. Since this is a civil hearing, you are entitled to conduct discovery – take the officer's deposition and propound questions to the officer which he has to answer under oath. This will further help you prepare for your case.DUI Trial
Your first DUI trial will take place in either a Justice Court or Municipal Court. These courts do not have court reporters so Coxwell & Associates will retain court reporters to take down all the testimony.
This is important if you are convicted and have to appeal. If you are found guilty in the Justice or Municipal Court, you can appeal that conviction to County Court (or Circuit Court in those counties which have no County Courts) where you will get a trial de novo, meaning that you are entitled to have a "new trial" on the merits of your case.
Appeals must be filed within 30 days of your conviction in Justice or Municipal Court. If you are convicted in County Court, you are entitled to file an appeal to the Circuit Court, but you may only submit briefs. Live testimony is not allowed. Thereafter, appeals to the Mississippi Supreme Court or Court of Appeals are only permitted if you raise constitutional issues.DUI Penalties
Criminal penalties in Mississippi DUI cases are very serious. DUI convictions are maintained on your criminal record for 5 years, meaning that previous DUI offenses can be used to trigger enhanced punishment within five years of your first offense.
Third-offense DUI cases (meaning 3 offenses committed within 5 years) are treated as felonies in Mississippi. A person can also face vehicle impoundment and forfeiture of his vehicle.DUI for Minors (Under 21)
First offense DUI:
Second offense DUI:
Third offense DUI:
First offense DUI :
Second offense DUI within 5 years:
Third offense DUI:
If you or a loved one has been arrested in Jackson or anywhere in Mississippi, please contact the DUI defense attorneys at Coxwell & Associates, PLLC today to schedule your confidential consultation.