Author Archives: Cory Williamson

Administrative License Suspension DUI

In Mississippi, if you either refused to submit to a breath, blood, or urine test, the state will attempt to suspend your license or privilege to drive for 90 days to one year. This loss of your right to drive will occur even without you being convicted of DUI.  Once you have refused to submit to a breath, blood, or urine test you should receive notice from the State of intent to suspend your license.  However, this suspension of your right to drive can, in some instances, be avoided.  If you file a refusal petition or petition to review suspension of license within ten (10) days of receiving notice of the State’s intent to suspend your license the suspension may be avoided.

Once the petition is filed a hearing will be held and the court will give a decision as to whether you will maintain your license until the conclusion of your trial or if you will lose your license prior to your trial.

 

 

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Refusal to Blow and License Suspension

In Mississippi a driver may have his/her license suspended as a result of refusing to “blow” when suspected of driving under the influence (DUI).  In the event you find yourself pulled over and facing a breath test to determine your blood alcohol level, your refusal will result in your license being administratively suspended. Similarly, if you are convicted of DUI you will lose your license for a period of time.

The reason for a possible license suspension even without be convicted is “implied consent.”  According to Mississippi law, every driver has given “implied consent” to have their blood alcohol level checked if suspected of driving under the influence. As stated in previous posts, police must have “reasonable grounds and probable cause” in order to subject you to a breath test.  If you refuse to take the test the Mississippi Commissioner of Public Safety,  may determine that your license will be suspended.  Prior to your license being suspended you must be given notice that your license will be suspended 30 days from the date of such notice.

For many having your license suspended can be devastating.  With the help of a criminal defense attorney it is possible to have your license suspension put on hold until after a trial on the criminal charges you are facing.

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Consequences of Shoplifting

According to Mississippi law, any person who willfully and unlawfully takes possession of any merchandise owned, held, offered or displayed for sale by a merchant, without paying for it, is guilty of the crime of shoplifting.

If convicted of Shoplifting, for merchandise which is less than or equal to $500,  the offending party can face a fine of not more than $1,000, and/or a jail sentence of not more than six months.

In the event you are convicted of a shoplifting offense and do not learn your lesson and are convicted of shoplifting a second time, you will face penalties that match a first conviction.  However, if you are convicted a third time it will be considered a felony, which brings far more severe penalties and longer lasting consequences.

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Public Intoxication

Public intoxication, also known as “public drunk” or “drunk in public” is an interesting topic.  The main point of interest is how the law defines public.  According to Miss. Code Ann. § 97-29-47 “If any person shall profanely swear or curse, or use vulgar and indecent language, or be drunk in any public place, in the presence of two (2) or more persons, he shall, on conviction thereof, be fined not more than one hundred dollars ($ 100.00) or be imprisoned in the county jail not more than thirty (30) days or both.”

The main takeaway here is that to be considered drunk in public you must be in the presence of two (2) or more persons.  The question that often comes up is does the arresting officer count as one of the persons.  Sadly, yes he does.

We will follow up on this post with a discussion of the “public” part of the statute.

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Simple Assault and Law Enforcement

We have discussed Simple Assault in previous posts, including our last post which discusses the victim being pregnant as an aggravating factor, this post warns of the consequences of assaulting a law enforcement officer. Just as the type of acts which would normally constitute a simple assault, a misdemeanor, can be lead to more serious ramifications if the victim is pregnant, the same is true if the victim is a law enforcement officer. While Simple Assault carries a punishment of up to six (6) months in jail and a $500.00 fine, if the assault is against a law enforcement officer then it is raised to a felony. As a felony the punishment could include up to five (5) years in a penitentiary and a $1,000.00 fine. As you can see, in the event you find yourself in a situation involving a law enforcement officer, it is vitally important that you remain calm and do not take any actions which could be construed as aggressive towards the officer.

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Simple Assault and Aggravating Factors

As discussed in a prior post, simple assault in Mississippi can be punished by up to 6 months in jail and a fine up to $500.00, or both.  However, there are certain aggravating factors which can substantially increase the consequences of actions which would otherwise be considered misdemeanor simple assault.  No surprisingly, the actions which constitute simple assault, when committed against a pregnant woman leads to significantly greater penalties. Intentional simple assault against a pregnant woman will be penalized as follows: (a) If the conduct results in a miscarriage or stillbirth by that individual, a felony punishable by imprisonment for not more than twenty (20) years or a fine of not more than Seven Thousand Five Hundred Dollars ($ 7,500.00), or both. (b) If the conduct results in serious physical injury to the embryo or fetus, a felony punishable by imprisonment for not more than twenty (20) years or a fine of not more than Five Thousand Dollars ($ 5,000.00), or both. (c) If the conduct results in minor physical injury to the embryo or fetus, a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment for not more than six (6) months or a fine of not more than One Thousand Dollars ($ 1,000.00), or both.

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Mississippi Open Container Laws

Mississippi is the only state which does not expressly prohibit the possession of an open container while driving. However, before you hit the backroads with an open can/bottle of your favorite alcoholic beverage, a few things should be considered: First, no matter the scenario, if you are caught operating a vehicle with a blood alcohol content of .08%, you will likely be charged with driving under the influence (DUI). Second, if an officer sees you driving and drinking, regardless of your level of sobriety, you are likely to face the hassle of being pulled over and questioned. Third, some counties and/or cities may have their own prohibition against open containers which could land you in trouble.

As a best practice, it is wise to avoid driving with an open container in the vehicle, and/or drinking and driving (obviously).

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DUI First and Subsequent Penalties

In previous posts the penalties associated with a first conviction of Driving Under the Influence (DUI) have been discussed.  In this post I just wanted to a brief synopsis on the penalties associated with not only a first DUI conviction, but the penalties associated with convictions up to being convicted of a fourth DUI.

The penalties prescribed by Mississippi law for a DUI First Offense: • fined not less than $250 or more than $1,000 in fines or up to 48 hours in jail, or both; • must attend and complete an alcohol safety education program within 6 months of sentencing; • suspended driver’s license for no less than 120 days or an ignition interlock device installed on your vehicle for 120 days

DUI Second Offense within 5 years: • A minimum of 5 days but up to 6 months in Jail; • Fines from $600 up to $1,500; • 10 days to 6 months community service; • your driver’s license could be suspended for up to one (1) year.

DUI Third Offense within 5 years.  Upon being charged with a third DUI a driver has crossed over from misdemeanor charges to facing the possibility of a felony conviction. • minimum of 1 year to maximum of 5 years in Jail (house arrest is a common sentence for a third DUI conviction); • $2,000 up to $5,000 in fines; • Driver’s license suspension;

DUI Fourth Offense within a person’s lifetime: • vehicle operated at time of arrest is subject to forfeiture; • $3,000 to $10,000 fine; • minimum of 2 years to maximum of 10 years in jail; • Driver’s license suspension for the full period of the person’s sentence.

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DUI Defense Strategies

Each situation resulting in a DUI (driving under the influence) charge is unique and therefore requires steps and defense strategies tailored to that particular situation. After gathering all of the facts and investigating the evidence against you a defense attorney should consider your particular set of circumstances and advise you as to your best course of action. In the event you are most likely to get satisfactory results by going to trial, several strategies will likely be considered or employed, again, being dependent upon the facts of your individual case.

One of the very first questions to ask when charged with DUI is whether the police had sufficient cause to pull you over;

In the event you are subjected to a breath test, it must be determined if the police officer properly followed the protocols for an accurate breath test.

Perhaps what the officer viewed as signs of impairment, during the DUI stop, were actually symptoms of another cause.

Perhaps there are inconsistencies in the police report which can be used to show a lack of credibility if/when the officer testifies.

In the even you find yourself facing criminal charges, the attorneys and staff at Haymans and Company, PLLC are here to guide you and to help you develop the best defense available to you.

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Minor in Possession of Alcohol

The misdemeanor Minor in Possession, commonly known as MIP, is defined in Section 67-1-81 of the Mississippi Code.It states in pertinent part that any person under the age of twenty-one who purchases, receives, or has in his/her possession any alcoholic beverages shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.

If convicted of Minor in Possession you could be punished with a fine up to $500.00.

In the event that you misrepresent yourself to be over the age of twenty-one, perhaps by presenting a fake I.D., you could be found guilty of a misdemeanor and be punished with a fine of up to $500.00 and thirty days of community service.

If you are convicted of possession alcohol as a minor your driver’s license shall be suspended for up to ninety days. During the time of your driver’s license being suspended, the court will also suspend imposition of the other penalties and fines already mentioned. You may also be placed on probation during the time your license is suspended pursuant to terms and conditions set by the judge.

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