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If you drink and drive in Mississippi, you won't get charged with a DUI -- you'll get charged with "operating a motor vehicle under the influence," also known as an "OUI." Like an "IOU," but instead of owing your buddy your share of the bar tab, now you may owe the state of Mississippi thousands of dollars in fines (in addition to jail time). Maybe you were on your way home from an Ole Miss football game or on your way to the beach. No matter why you got behind the wheel, if you got caught driving under the influence, it may be time to pay the piper under Mississippi drunk driving laws.
For an officer to stop you for testing, the officer must either have a reasonable suspicion that you are driving under the influence, or you must be driving through a sobriety checkpoint. Sobriety checkpoints are an increasingly popular tool for Mississippi law enforcement. They are used most often around major holidays when many residents are travelling to celebrate with family and friends. Police and prosecutors recognize that these checkpoints usually generate enough arrests to justify the effort.
Mississippi, like the majority of states, has implied consent laws (Sec. 63-11-5). This means that just by driving on public roads or getting a driver's license, you've given your consent to breath testing and chemical blood testing. If you refuse to submit to testing, your license will be suspended.
Refusing a field sobriety test:
Blood-Alcohol Concentration (BAC) Limits:
Drunk Driving Penalties:
Mississippi has a "washout" period of five years (Sec. 63-11-30(2)(b)(i)). This means that, for the purposes of determining your sentence, the court will only consider the number of OUIs you've been convicted of in the last five years. However, the washout period doesn't apply if you're being charged with your fourth or more OUI. For people who rely on their vehicle for transportation to work, keep in mind that in some cases, instead of suspending your driver's license, the court may order you to install an ignition interlock device.
This article is intended to be helpful and informative. But even common legal matters can become complex and stressful. A qualified drunk driving lawyer can address your particular legal needs, explain the law, and represent you in court. Take the first step now and contact a local drunk driving attorney to discuss your specific legal situation.