Alcohol decreases a driver’s judgment and response time, which is why all states make drunk driving illegal. Drivers in Ridgeland, Mississippi should be familiar with DUI laws and the possible penalties.
Overview of Mississippi DUI law
Mississippi DUI law makes operating a motor vehicle under the influence illegal and considers a blood alcohol content of .08 legally dunk. The BAC for commercial drivers, such as truck drivers, drops to .04 and drivers under 21 cannot register .02 or more. The law also applies to being intoxicated on controlled substances, legal or illegal, or in combination with alcohol.
Drivers are prohibited by law to operate public or personal watercraft with a minimum of 25 horsepower under the influence. The driver does not have to exhibit signs of impairment with a BAC of .08, and they can get charged below .08. An officer may ask the driver to perform field sobriety tests, such as the one-leg stand test, to check for intoxication.
DUI penalties in Mississippi
The penalties for a first offense DUI include 48 hours of jail, a $250-$1,000 fine, and a 90-day to one-year license suspension. The defendant may only be required to pay fines or attend a victim impact panel as an alternative to jail based on the circumstances. Some drivers may qualify for a hardship license 30 days after the suspension begins, but they need SR-22 insurance, a special type of insurance for high-risk drivers.
Penalties for a second offense within five years commonly include up to a one-year jail term, community service, and a $600-$1,500 fine. Licenses are suspended for two years, but if the driver attends alcohol education, it may get reduced to one year. Subsequent offenses commonly do not qualify for reduced sentencing, and the vehicle could be sold or impounded.
DUI laws are tough to protect others on the road, but drivers can defend their rights. A driver may use some valid defenses to fight the charges, such as lack of probable cause.