In Mississippi, if convicted of driving under the influence (DUI), you face penalties from both the court and the Mississippi Department of Public Safety. The legal limit for blood alcohol content (BAC) is 0.08%, and if you are found driving with a BAC of a higher concentration, you are almost guaranteed to receive an alcohol-related citation (and some pretty hefty penalties, along with it). Even if your BAC is below the legal limit, you are opening yourself up to significant trouble if you choose to drink and drive. You can view a list of possible penalties at DMV.org.
In any case, if you are a resident of Mississippi, you need to be familiar with what a DUI roadblock is and how to protect your rights if you are stopped at one of these checkpoints.
DUI checkpoints are sometimes also referred to as “sobriety checkpoints” or “DUI roadblocks”. They are only permitted in certain jurisdictions, and the state of Mississippi happens to be one of them. It’s a tactic that is part of the state’s larger drunk driving deterrent strategy wherein officers are stationed at certain locations to check drivers for signs of intoxication and impairment.
The only real stipulation for DUI checkpoints is that they are meant to be both “temporary” and “random”. So, while they may tend to happen more often and in greater numbers around holidays or big events, these roadblocks can be relatively unpredictable. This makes them virtually impossible to prepare for, which is part of how they work, but there are certain things that you can do to protect your rights if you find yourself stopped at a DUI checkpoint. Always have important documents on hand: your license, vehicle registration, and proof of insurance. You should never offer to share information beyond what is found in these three documents. Be courteous and never argue with the officer, but avoid nervous rambling or appearing overly friendly.
You may have been drinking responsibly, but you should know that even the most insignificant admission can be used against you, including “I only had one glass of wine with my dinner three hours ago.”
Good to Know: “Implied Consent” in the State of Mississippi
According to Mississippi state law, drivers give their “implied consent” to a chemical sobriety test when they apply for a driver’s license. This includes blood, alcohol, and urine tests to determine whether or not a driver is impaired.
Even so, you do have the right to refuse one of these chemical tests if an officer asks you to submit to one. In fact, most DUI lawyers will tell you that refusal is your best option. Unfortunately, refusing such a request comes with some unpleasant consequences. In Mississippi, refusing to submit to an intoxilizer results in a 90-day suspension of the driver’s license. However, there is no state punishment for refusing a field sobriety test.
Contact the skilled and proven team at Coxwell & Associates, PLLC at (601) 265-7766 for a free case consultation.
Disclaimer: This blog is intended for general information purposes only, and is not a substitute for legal advice. Anyone with a legal problem should consult a lawyer immediately.