An update from the front on Mississippi's new DUI laws
At the beginning of this month, Mississippi’s new DUI laws took effect. A central portion of the new law for most people charged with driving under the influence is the new non-adjudication provision. In Mississippi, a person charged with a DUI may now be eligible for non-adjudication, meaning that the DUI charge against them will be dismissed after they complete certain conditions set by the court.
What we’re seeing across Mississippi is that each municipal and justice court has its own way of going about non-adjudication. In Oxford it’s one way, in Ridgeland another, in Starkville yet another, in Jackson still another, and on and on statewide. Some courts are requiring that all fines and fees be paid in advance. Some are rejecting any non-adjudication request that concerns a DUI where a breath test was refused. Some are requiring a hearing to determine the reasonableness of non-adjudication when a breath test result is present and above a 0.16 BAC. Some are requiring 120 days of an interlock-restricted drivers license, while some are allowing for a 90-day license suspension in lieu of that, if the driver so chooses. And some courts, like Tupelo, are continuing DUI cases into the next year to let some of this play out.
We’re tracking all of that information here at the firm so as to best be able to advise our clients concerning their DUI charges. And it’s a database that continues to grow and change as courts get used to the new law and the Mississippi Department of Public Safety works the kinks out of its system.
Ultimately, what’s important is that if you are charged with a DUI in Mississippi, that you hire an attorney with knowledge of the new DUI law and how to best use it to your advantage. While there may be some standardization develop over time, currently DUI practice in Mississippi is the most fluid it’s been in over a decade.