Last month there was a citywide crackdown on DUIs in Jackson, MS resulting in 128 DUI arrests. (“MHP Hails Drunk Driving Crackdown a Success” reported by WLBT ). Since Mississippi comes in as the sixth worst state for drunk driving fatalities, this is a good thing: the fewer drunk people on the road, the fewer fatal accidents. But the crackdown was not so good for the people who were arrested.
DUI Arrest Process
Here is what happened to the people arrested earlier this month. First, they were handcuffed, booked, fingerprinted and put in jail. If they were over 21 years of age and this was their first DUI offense, they would remain in jail for up to 48 hours. They might have had to post a bond to get out of jail. Then they would have to pay a $250 – $1,000 dollar fine, and have their license suspended for one year, or 90 days if the Mississippi Alcohol Safety Education program is completed.
Second DUI Arrest
For those with a prior DUI conviction within the last five years, the fine goes up to $600 – $1,500. The judge could send you to jail from anywhere from 5 days to one year and could also require that you perform community service work from 10 days to one year. Your driver’s license could also be suspended for 2 years. It is possible to reduce the driver’s license suspension to one year if you undergo an alcohol treatment program.
Felony DUI Arrest
If you are bullheaded and get arrested and convicted for drunk driving a third time, you have committed a felony crime. Your fine will be from $2,000 to $5,000. The possible jail sentence ranges from 1-5 years in the state penitentiary. Your vehicle could be seized and you could lose your license for 5 years.
Harsh Sentences for DUIs
All judges, particularly in the tri-county area of Hinds, Rankin and Madison, have taken a hard line approach to drunk drivers. This is largely due to the efforts of MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving) which began a program long ago to follow DUI cases and make sure that judges imposed the harshest possible sentences.
The recent DUI roadblocks in Jackson will certainly not be the last. The consequences of a DUI — and certainly multiple DUIs — are serious and life-changing. Have a designated driver or get a taxi, or if you are planning to have a lot to drink, just stay home. If you need assistance defending yourself against felony DUI / DWI charges, please call my criminal defense law practice in Jackson, Mississippi.