Author Archives: Cory Williamson

DUI Levels and Consequences

Below is some very basic information on the various levels of DUI (driving under the influence, or more commonly “drunk driving”).  While this list does include some of the consequences of receiving a DUI it does not include the non-judicial consequences such as: ramifications for college or graduate school acceptance, higher insurance, getting hired for a job, being able to obtain certain license endorsements, or even losing a job.  So please remember, while DUI’s may have serious consequences within the judicial system, sometimes the consequences later in life are far more severe.

DUI FOR MINORS (UNDER 21) First offense DUI: • Applies if test results are between .02% -.08% Breath Alcohol Concentration • If you refuse the test, you are treated like an adult first offense • $250 Fine • Victim Impact • Alcohol Safety Education Program (MASEP) • Ninety days license suspension • Thirty days if no breath test • DUI may be non-adjudicated at court’s discretion

Second offense DUI: • $500.00 Fine • License suspended one year (reduction to six months after certified alcohol/drug program)

Third offense DUI: • Up to $1,000.00 fine • License suspension for two years or until age 21 (whichever is longer) • Completion of certified alcohol/drug program

DUI FOR ADULT (OVER 21) First offense DUI : • $250-$1,000 fine and court costs • Jail time 48 hours • One year license suspension • MASEP & Victim Impact Classes

Second offense DUI within 5 years: • Fine range of $600-$1,500 and court costs • Jail time 5 days to one year, community service of 10 days to one year • Two years license suspension • Vehicle impounded or immobilized for term of license suspension

Third offense DUI: • Fine range of $2,000-$5,000 • One to five years imprisonment • Driver’s license suspended for five years • Vehicle seized and sold with proceeds to the state • Felony conviction – loss of civil rights (cannot vote or own a handgun)

DUI resulting in death or disfigurement – Any person who is DUI and in a negligent manner causes the death of another or mutilates, disfigures, permanently disables or destroys the tongue, eye, lip, nose or any other limb, organ or member of another faces imprisonment in state penitentiary for a period of time of not less than five years and not to exceed twenty five years.

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Refusing a Breath Test

One of the most frequent questions, when it comes to a DUI, is “should you blow?” or otherwise submit to a breath test. When pulled over and the officer suspects you of driving under the influence, he may ask you to submit to a breath test. In the event you refuse, your license could be suspended from 90 days to one year. This suspension occurs automatically and will go into effect unless you appeal the suspension. This suspension occurs prior to your DUI trial.

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Use of an Interlock Device While Resolving a DUI Charge

In the event you are facing DUI charges you may lose your driving privileges. For example, as included in the post on the nonadjudication of a DUI offense, while undergoing the nonadjudication process you may have to surrender your license. However, there are ways to avoid this, primarily through the use of an ignition interlock device.

In the event you are attempting to have your charge of driving under the influence nonadjudicated, rather than giving up your driving privileges, you may have the opportunity to have an interlock device installed on your vehicle and be allowed to continue to drive according to an “interlock-restricted license”. This license requires that you have an interlock device installed on all of your vehicles, to pay the appropriate fees to the installation and monitoring service, and to provide proof that the device is installed.The interlock device, through a breath test, determines your blood alcohol content and will not allow the vehicle to start in the event the BAC is higher than the setting on the device allows.

While the interlock device can be cumbersome, it does provide a way in which you are allowed to keep your driving privileges while reaching a final resolution to your DUI case.

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Expunging your DUI

While the best strategy for maintaining a clear record is to never get a DUI, in the event you have already been convicted of a DUI/DWI, you may have the opportunity to have the DUI conviction expunged, meaning taken off your record.  Having a DUI conviction expunged from your record has tremendous benefits, however, not everyone is eligible.  In order to be eligible to have your DUI conviction expunged, you must have not previously had a DUI expunged, you must have not previously had a DUI nonajudicated, you must successfully complete all terms and conditions for your sentence from the DUI conviction, your BAC must have tested below .16%, you must not have refused a breathalyzer test, and five (5) years must have passed from the time of your DUI conviction.

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DUI Checkpoints and Roadblocks

Sobriety checkpoints, also known as DUI checkpoints, or more commonly “roadblocks” refer to the temporary stops intended to locate drunk drivers and to keep them off the road. Many people question the legality of such checkpoints or roadblocks and whether they are permitted, the simple answer is yes they are (in Mississippi). In the event you find yourself facing a DUI roadblock, there are several things to keep in mind. First, be polite, while most people have stories of an unpleasant experience with a stop or other interaction with a police officer, being aggressive will only hurt your position, remember, in the event you have been drinking you are not going to win your case at this point. Second, answering questions is voluntary. Submitting to a breath test is also voluntary, however, if you refuse your license will be suspended.

If you find yourself facing DUI charges, Haymans and Company, PLLC can help obtain the best outcome available to you and minimize any possible consequences.

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Simple Assault?

As has been discussed in previous posts, “simple assault” is a misdemeanor resulting from a person: knowingly or recklessly causing bodily injury to another, negligently causing bodily injury to another with a weapon, or even threatening a person in such a manor that they fear serious bodily harm.  The injuries in simple assault cases are generally not particularly serious, but can still leave you with a conviction on your record and facing penalties such as: up to 6 months in jail and a fine up to $500.00, or both.

While the above listed actions can lead to you being charged with misdemeanor simple assault, if the facts change slightly, you can find yourself facing felony charges even when your actions have not changed.  In the event you engage in actions which would be considered simple assault, but the victim is an elected official, law enforcement, emergency medical personnel, a social worker, or a teacher then your actions can be upgraded from a misdemeanor to a felony.

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Selecting the Right Criminal Defense Attorney

Facing criminal charges is a serious situation and one which can cause a great deal of anxiety for the defendant as well as their family. During these times it is important to select the right criminal defense attorney to help guide you through the court system and to obtain the best results for your case.

Some things to consider when choosing a criminal defense attorney include the resources available to your criminal defense lawyer, does he/she have sufficient staff to handle your case? Does he/she have investigators available to assign to your case? Will you be able to get in touch with your attorney?

At Haymans & Company, PLLC we have the resources and staff of a much larger firm, but still give your case the individual attention it deserves.

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Facing a Breath Test, DUI Defense Part 2

Following the initial stop and an officer’s suspicion that you are operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol, you may find yourself facing a breath test. Under Mississippi’s implied consent law the police have the right to request that you submit to a breath test. You will also likely be informed that your refusal to submit will result in losing your license for 90 days.

The breath test is generally performed with the use of a breathalyzer, or even more specifically the “intoxilyzer”. In the event you submit to the test and the breathalyzer determines that your blood alcohol level is 0.08 or more the police and the prosecution will have a strong piece of evidence which may be able to be used against you. However, just because you have “failed” a breath test does not mean that you will absolutely be convicted of DUI. There are a number of defenses available which are specific to attacking the results of a breath test.

When defending against a breathalyzer reading, several questions should be asked, including: was the breathalyzer properly calibrated? Did the police officer follow the proper guidelines for observation prior to administering the test? Was the officer properly licensed and trained in the use of the breathalyzer? If the answer to any of these questions in “no”, then the results of the breathalyzer test may be inadmissible as evidence or at least cast doubt on the results.

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DUI the Initial Stop, Part 1

Being charged with a DUI in Mississippi is very serious and if convicted can have far reaching consequences. Accordingly, it is important to know what options and defenses are available to you as a defendant. In order to be found guilty of Driving Under the Influence the prosecution must prove that you were operating or in control of a motor vehicle and that you were under the influence while doing so. Also, the officer must have had a legal reason for pulling you over to begin with. Most people have heard the term “probable cause” and understand it to apply to a police officer making an arrest or a search of a person or place. However, a police officer need only have “reasonable suspicion” in order to legally pull over a driver suspected of being under the influence. While reasonable suspicion is a lower standard than probable cause, it still has to be more than just a “hunch” or a “feeling”, in fact, an officer must be able to give specific and articulable facts as to why he/she pulled you over. Without this, the entire stop may have been illegal and the charges against you may be dismissed.

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Domestic Violence Consequences Beyond the Conviction

In our previous post we discussed Simple Assault, a related crime is that of Domestic Violence. In Mississippi Domestic Violence is an action which meets the definition of Simple Assault, but also has the element of the Simple Assault being committed against a person with whom the Defendant has a certain type of relationship. This relationship factor is broad in nature and includes: Current or former spouse; Current or former domestic partner; Current or former dating partner; Anyone related by blood or adoption to the Defendant; Foster parents; Step parents; Anyone who currently resides or used to reside with the Defendant; or Grandparents, parents, children or grandchildren of the Defendant.

While the punishment for a Domestic Violence conviction includes up to a $500.00 fine and imprisonment in the county jail for up to six months, the accompanying ramifications can be much further reaching. A person convicted of Domestic Violence could face other consequences such as weaker custody or visitation rights, reduced employment opportunities, money damages, or even the loss of your right to own or possess a firearm.

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