Many times, people who have been stopped for DUI in Mississippi are faced with a decision: to blow or not to blow. If a person chooses not to give a breath sample for analysis by the machine that measures the amount of alcohol present in a person's breath, then that is called a "refusal" in DUI legal terms. That refusal has a whole other set of legal consequences in addition to the charge for DUI itself.
To begin with, we each give "implied consent" to have our breath tested for the presence of alcohol when we drive on the public roads of Mississippi. If you then refuse to give that breath sample when asked to do so by law enforcement, you may have your license suspended for that refusal. The decision about whether or not to suspend your license for this refusal is made administratively by the Mississippi Department of Public Safety. That suspension is in addition to any suspension you may face for actual conviction of DUI. Yes, that means that if you refuse to give a sample and then are later convicted of DUI, you would suffer two license suspensions, one for the refusal and one for the DUI itself.
But, importantly, you do have rights to contest the suspension for the refusal. This can be done only by filing an appeal of the Department of Public Safety's administrative decision to suspend your license. There are extremely short and strict time limits on this appeal, however. You have only 10 days from the date of the mailing of the letter letting you know the Department of Public Safety has decided to suspend your license for the refusal. If you fail to file a Petition contesting the suspension during those 10 days, you will not be able to have that decision reviewed. That is why it is very important to speak with a Mississippi DUI attorney as soon as possible after being charged with a DUI refusal. If you wait until you receive the letter from the Department of Public Safety, you making it difficult for the attorney to get the Petition filed within the 10 days.
So, as a word to the wise, always contact a DUI attorney as soon as you can after being charged with a DUI.