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How have Mississippi’s DUI laws changed over the last decade?

On Behalf of | May 21, 2020 | Firm News |

The possibility of a DUI conviction can be a scary prospect. Not only could you have to face penalties, such as community service, fines or jail time, but you could also lose your professional license and become ineligible for certain jobs.

As WLOX explains, Mississippi DUI law has undergone some significant changes within the last 10 years. Some are in your favor, while others are more severe on drunk driving than the DUI laws were in the past.

One-time expungement/non-adjudication

After your first DUI offense, you may have the option of non-adjudication or expungement. Non-adjudication means that even if you enter a guilty plea, the judge does not enter a guilty verdict against you. Expungement involves removing a conviction from your criminal history. Both can protect your record after an initial DUI. However, each is only available once following your first offense.

Ignition interlock devices

As of 2014, a judge can choose to require you to install an ignition interlock device in your vehicle following a DUI. This is available after your first offense as well as subsequent offenses as an alternative to suspending your license. It determines your blood alcohol level by analyzing your breath and prevents you from starting the vehicle if your BAC is too high. As long as you have not been drinking, however, it allows you to drive as normal if you have to go to work, pick up kids from school or go grocery shopping for your family.

Fourth-offense DUI

One of the most recent and biggest changes involves a fourth-offense DUI. As of 2016, this is now a felony charge regardless of how recent the other offenses were. In the past, it was only a felony if previous offenses happened within five years.