Those who have recently received a DUI charge in Mississippi know they are facing a huge financial hit, but the actual final costs can vary widely.
Understanding Mississippi laws for driving while intoxicated can help anticipate sentencing fines. Knowing how the legal process works can help anticipate the other costs associated with DUIs beyond punitive fines.
As the Mississippi State Bar Association reports, adult DUI offenders, and juvenile offenders with BAC above .08, face fines between $250 and $1000 and up to 48 hours in jail for a first offense.
Sentencing minimums and maximums increase incrementally with each subsequent offense within a five year window. Three or more offenses will result in a felony and could result in up to five years imprisonment and a $5,000 fine. A driver could also lose a license for up to five years or lose the vehicle permanently.
There are other associated requirements after a conviction such as the Mississippi Alcohol Safety Education Program, which is mandatory for all DUI offenders.
A good defense can reduce the severity of the sentence and can help mitigate other consequences associated with a DUI. But a sentence is not the only cost of concern.
Each county in Mississippi will charge court fees based on a schedule, and these fees can add up the further a case progresses. Resolving a case before going to trial is one way to reduce the total amount of court costs, but in some circumstances it may be better in the long run to dispute your case.
The Mississippi Department of Public Safety currently charges a $175 fee to reinstate a license after a DUI, and the driver will face other fees if he or she chooses to get a restricted license with an Ignition Interlock Device. Most drivers accept this restriction to avoid lengthy license suspensions. This option currently includes a $56 restricted license cost, a $175 Ignition Interlock fee and the full cost of installing the device into the vehicle. The court will not pay for or install this device for offending drivers.
Sometimes the costs that drivers fail to anticipate are the continuing costs of a DUI on record. This is why a strong defense can sometimes pay for itself. Insurance companies will almost certainly raise costs for those with a DUI on record, and there may be further impacts on your career and earning potential.