Many people do not know that a Mississippi DUI (driving under the influence) arrest actually triggers two separate cases. The first case is the judicial court case, which, as I have discussed in a previous post “Drunk Driving Arrests in Mississippi“, may result in a possible fine from $250 – $1,000, jail time and mandatory alcohol education program for a first time DWI conviction. The second case involves the Department of Motor Vehicles. If you either refused to submit to a breath, blood or urine test, or you gave a test and were in violation of the legal blood alcohol limit of .08%, the State will attempt to suspend your driver’s license for anywhere from 90 days to 1 year.
Test Refusal Petition
The State of Mississippi has what is known as the “10 Day Rule” — your license will automatically be suspended unless you file a Test Refusal Petition within 10 calendar days after receiving the Notice of Intent to Suspend. After the filing of the refusal petition, you will then receive a temporary license which is valid only for 45 days. Sometime thereafter you will then have a hearing on your test refusal. There will be no jury, and the State will make a decision as to whether or not to suspend your license at that point. Driver’s license suspension can be extremely problematic, and sometimes it is beneficial to have the extra 45 days before the suspension begins. If so, you might consider hiring a criminal defense attorney to assist you with the Test Refusal Petition and hearing.
Hardship License for First Time Offenders
If you are a first time offender, one way to fight the suspension of your driver’s license is to petition the Court for a hardship license. Under the appropriate Mississippi Statute, the Circuit Court in the county where the conviction occurred or the Circuit Court of the person’s residence may reduce the suspension of driving privileges under the MS Statute. The Court may do so if they make the following finding: the denial of the license would constitute a hardship on the offender. It is important to note that the Court may not issue an order reducing the suspension of driving privileges under this Statue until 30 days have elapsed from the effective date of the suspension. It is also important to note that you may not apply for a hardship license when dealing with a second or third DUI conviction, or if you have refused to take the breath, blood or urine test.
In order to convince the Circuit Court to grant you a hardship license, it will be necessary to show at your hearing that the revocation of your license will hinder your ability to work, attend school or another educational institution, or obtain necessary medical care. The need for a hardship license must be established by clear and convincing evidence and be supported by independent documentation. An attorney with experience handling DUIs can help represent you at this hearing.