The big problem with our new DUI law

As Mississippi’s new DUI law is implemented across the state, our municipal and justice courts are working through the various wrinkles. Most are relatively minor, such as whether or not to require full payment of the fine and non-adjudication fee at the time of entry into the nonadjudication program. There is one issue, though, that is causing major problems for a certain class of DUI defendants.

In our larger cities and especially in our college towns like Oxford, Starkville, and Hattiesburg, a good number of DUI defendants have out-of-state licenses. Our scheme for nonadjudication and ignition interlock requires that the DUI defendant obtain what’s called an “interlock restricted license” from the Mississippi Department of Public Safety. That license alerts law enforcement officers that the person must only be driving a car with an interlock device installed. Currently, there is no mechanism for the Department of Public Safety to place an interlock restriction on an out-of-state license. That means that all of the benefits of the interlock system are lost on college students, tourists, and people in Mississippi on business.

We’ve developed a few workarounds, and have a few more in the pipeline, but this is a problem that will hopefully be addressed in the next legislative session.

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