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In this article, you can learn about:

  • Alternative resolution methods for DUI charges.
  • The penalties for DUI charges in Tennessee and Mississippi.
  • The long-term benefits of working with a skilled DUI attorney.

How Is DUI Defined In Mississippi?

DUI means “Driving Under the Influence.” In Mississippi, DUI can be charged any time a person over the age of 21 operates a motor vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

To be considered under the influence of alcohol, you will show a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08%. BAC is typically documented by a breath test. (Or what is known more commonly as a Breathalyzer test).

If you are under the influence of a controlled substance (such as marijuana or amphetamines), law enforcement may request a blood test to determine how much of that substance is present in your system.

In any case, DUI charges typically arise when someone is intoxicated to the point that they cannot drive safely.

Do I Have To Give A Blood Or Breath Sample During the DUI Arrest In Mississippi Or Tennessee?

It is always within your rights to refuse a request for sobriety testing. However, choosing to refuse a breath test, you can be charged with a DUI refusal. (This added offense will be noted on your ticket.)

In Mississippi and Tennessee, law enforcement must obtain a warrant to perform a blood test. This is called a “blood warrant.” To obtain a blood warrant, the arresting officer will need to contact a judge or magistrate and provide probable cause. If the officer has just reason to believe that you are under the influence, the judge or magistrate would then issue a warrant. Once a warrant is issued, you are legally required to submit to a blood test.

What Are The Penalties For A DUI Conviction In Mississippi And Tennessee?

When it comes to DUI law, Mississippi and Tennessee have notably different approaches.

In Tennessee:

The state of Tennessee is tough on DUI. For a first-time offense, the state imposes:

  • Minimum jail time of 48 hours.
  • Fines ranging from $500 to $1,500.
  • Attendance at a DUI Victim Impact Panel.

(Some counties may require different classes to fulfill this requirement.)

  • The revocation of your driver’s license for one year.

(First-time offenders can usually apply for a restricted license during this time.)

  • The mandatory installation of an ignition interlock device.

(This is a breathalyzer instrument that is installed in an offender’s vehicle. With an interlock installed, a driver must blow into the device to start the car. If the driver cannot blow under the legal limit, the car will not start.)

In Mississippi:

Mississippi offers an alternative program called Non-Adjudication to first-time DUI offenders.

Through non-adjudication, you will enter a conditional guilty plea and complete a six-month probationary period. During your probation, you will complete a DUI class that is specific to the state of Mississippi. (The class is four hours a week, for four weeks.)

Additionally, you will be required to take a Victim Impact Panel which takes the place of two days of jail time. (In Mississippi, there is no minimum jail requirement if you take a Victim Impact Panel.)

You can even avoid having your license suspended by installing an ignition interlock device during your probation.

If all the requirements are met, and the six-month probation is not violated, the DUI is dismissed.

What Happens When You Get An Out-Of-State DUI?

If you are charged with DUI out-of-state, you will be required to abide by the laws of the state where the offense occurred.

Therefore, if a Mississippi driver is arrested for DUI in Tennessee, they will not be able to pursue non-adjudication. Instead, they will bear all the consequences of a DUI charge in the state of Tennessee. This includes jail time, fines, license suspension, and attendance at a Victim Impact Panel.

On the other hand . . .

If a Tennessee driver is arrested for DUI in Mississippi, they will be eligible for non-adjudication.

When it comes to license suspension, the rules become less clear. Sometimes, DUI offenders have their driving privileges revoked in one state, but not the state that their license is from.

For example, a Tennessee driver convicted of DUI in Mississippi will likely have their driving privileges revoked in Mississippi. However, their license may remain unaffected in Tennessee.

Do I Need A Criminal Defense Attorney If I Plan On Pleading Guilty To A DUI Charge In Mississippi Or Tennessee?

The aid of a defense attorney is always beneficial in a DUI case. Their role, however, will change from state to state.

In Mississippi, your DUI attorney is invaluable when navigating the non-adjudication process. With so many variations in Mississippi DUI laws, it’s crucial to have a skilled lawyer on your side to negotiate the terms of your probation.

In Tennessee, the penalties for a DUI are strict and severe. If you plan on pleading guilty, there may not be much that an attorney can do to mitigate the negative effects. However, this is why it’s so important to work with an attorney in the first place. While pleading guilty has “one road out”, an attorney may be able to dispute the facts of your case and help you to avoid a conviction altogether.

For more information on DUI Law In Mississippi & Tennessee, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (662) 672-6663 today.

Areas We Serve: DeSoto County, Southaven

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