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 Device 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-Adjudicated DUI Mississippi
According to Mississippi Code Annotated Section 63-11-30, a first-time offender facing a DUI charge in Mississippi will be eligible for non-adjudication, under certain circumstances. Non-adjudication occurs when a person charged with a DUI pleads guilty, but the judge finds the individual not guilty.
Instead, With Non-Adjudication, A 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)
- 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.
Expungement In Mississippi
Expunction (a.k.a “expungement”) will be available for DUIs in Mississippi, as of October 1, 2014 - in the past, a person could not remove a DUI from their criminal record. In order to qualify for expungement, certain requirements must be met.
- First, at least five (5) years must have passed since the person successfully completed 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.