THREE BIG CHANGES TO MISSISSIPPI'S DUI LAWS
You may have heard that there are going to be significant changes to Mississippi’s DUI laws taking effect on October 1, 2014. Well that’s true, and here are a few of the major changes the public should know about.
- Ignition interlock comes to Mississippi – Long a staple of DUI laws in other states, the ignition interlock device will now be a major part of DUI cases in Mississippi. An ignition interlock device is a breath test machine that is wired to a car’s starter system, making it impossible to start a vehicle’s engine if alcohol is detected on the driver’s breath. People convicted of DUIs in Mississippi after October 1, 2014 will be forced to have these devices installed on their cars for a period of 90 days.
- Non-adjudication returns – Under certain circumstances, a person facing a DUI charge in Mississippi will be eligible for non-adjudication. This is a program under which a person charged with DUI enters a plea of guilty to the DUI charge, but is not found guilty of DUI. Instead, the DUI defendant must undergo a period of probation, pay all court costs and fines that they would have paid if convicted, pay a $250 non-adjudication fee into the Interlock Device Fund of the State Treasury, attend the Mississippi Alcohol Safety Education Program (MASEP), and have an ignition interlock device installed on their car for 120 days. Upon completion of these conditions, the DUI charge is dismissed, and can be removed from the person’s record.
- Expunction (a.k.a “expungement”) will be available for DUI – In the past, a person could not remove a DUI from their criminal record. That will change come October 1, 2014, so long as certain requirements are met. First, at least five (5) years must have passed since the person successfully completed of all terms and conditions of their DUI sentence. Second, the person cannot have refused to submit to a blood or breath test when stopped for the DUI. Third, if there are test results available from the blood or breath test, the person’s BAC cannot have been higher than 0.16%. Fourth, the person cannot have any other DUI conviction or pending DUI charge. Finally, the person must provide the judge with a reason why the conviction should be expunged.
There are several other very important changes, and more to the ones listed above. I’ll post more about the new DUI laws in the near future.