In Mississippi, drivers who get behind the wheel after drinking alcohol is a year-round concern. However, it is especially problematic in the summer when more people are out and about, taking trips and engaging in leisure activities. Law enforcement is aware of this and is out in force to catch drivers who show even the slightest hint of possibly committing a DUI. While it is inadvisable and unsafe to commit a DUI, simply because a driver is arrested and charged does not automatically imply guilt. Mississippi has recently come under the microscope in this vein due to a report labeling it as the most dangerous state in the nation for drunk driving fatalities. As law enforcement seeks to make the roads safer, drivers who are accused of committing a DUI should know what to do if they are arrested.
Mississippi at the top of the list for most DUI fatalities
According to a study by BuyInsurance.com, Mississippi was the worst for drunk driving deaths with 543 in a three-year study. Researchers based their findings on how many people died per 100,000 residents. With that, a state like Texas had far more fatalities due to DUI, but it also has exponentially more people living in the state. By those metrics, Mississippi’s rate was the highest. Out of 100,000 people, there were 8.77 DUI fatalities in the state. Researchers point out that Mississippi’s penalties for a conviction are not as harsh in other states and this is believed to be a factor in the number of deaths.
There are significant penalties for DUI
Despite assertions that the consequences for a DUI conviction are light, the reality is that drivers will face extensive challenges if they are caught and convicted. If it is a first-offense, there will be a $250 to $1,000 fine. The driver will spend 48 hours in jail. The driver’s license suspension will last for 30 to 90 days. Unlike other states, there is no enhanced penalty if the driver’s blood-alcohol concentration is considered “high.” For a person who is 21 or older, a BAC of 0.08% will lead to an arrest. If it is higher, the penalties are the same. This contrasts with many states where a BAC of 0.15% will lead to worse punishments.
Underage drivers will be charged if they register 0.02% based on “Zero Tolerance” for those who are not legally allowed to drink in the first place. This should be a concern as college is set to restart and there is the possibility that students will be stopped and charged with a DUI. Drivers are also required to submit to a test if they are asked to do so. This is implied consent. Drivers must take part in an education, assessment or treatment program; their vehicle might be confiscated; or they could be required to have an ignition interlock device placed on their vehicle.
When charged with DUI, it is imperative to understand the law
A DUI conviction can have a negative impact on a person’s life. Not only does it result in the above-listed penalties, but it can be problematic if it is on a person’s record when they seek employment or want to be admitted to a school. With the study showing how many people die on Mississippi roadways due to DUI, it is a priority for law enforcement to catch drivers who might be under the influence. This could lead to a spike in arrests and concerns about the future for those who are dealing with these charges. There are avenues to explore when combating DUI charges. The testing procedure could have been flawed, the evidence might be lacking or the driver might not have been drunk. Gauging all the alternatives is key and having assistance from the outset is the first step toward a positive outcome.