Category Archives: Driving under the infuence and Other Alcohol Related Offenses

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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Welcome Back Ole Miss Students and Incoming Freshmen and Transfers

Haymans and Company, PLLC welcomes back current Ole Miss students and extends a first welcome to the incoming freshman class and transfer students. We know that you will enjoy your time at Ole Miss and in Oxford as much as we do. While we know that you will enjoy the Square celebrating Ole Miss victories or just pleasant fall weather, we ask that you do so in a safe and responsible manner. However, in the event you find yourself facing legal issues or criminal charges (which does happen from time to time), we want you to know that the attorneys and staff at Haymans and Company, LLC are here to assist you. We are prepared to represent you against a number of criminal charges, including: DUI (Driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs) Simple Assault Aggravated Assault Minor in Possession Disorderly Conduct Drug Paraphernalia Burglary Destruction of Property Game and Fishing Violations Domestic Violence Malicious Mischief Drug Offenses Forgery Shoplifting Auto Theft Traffic Violations Firearm Charges Robbery

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Haymans Law Criminal Defense Attorneys

We understand facing criminal charges can be intimidating and highly stressful. Dealing with criminal charges on your own can be frustrating and usually leads to an outcome that is not best for you. Our attorneys are dedicated to helping people facing all types of criminal charges get fair treatment and the best outcome available to them.

Whether you have been charged with a misdemeanor or a felony, our attorneys understand the lifelong consequences that a criminal conviction can have. Including a negative impact on your ability to find employment, housing, and even obtain a secondary education.

Our attorneys have the staff and resources to handle all types of criminal matters from misdemeanors to felonies. We have the manpower, including our own investigators, to thoroughly research the facts surrounding your case and to find the weaknesses in the case being presented against you.

Of course, many criminal cases are handled outside the courtroom. At times reaching a resolution to your case prior to trial is your best option. If this is the most likely way to obtain a positive result in your case, the criminal defense attorneys at Haymans and Company, PLLC will use all available avenues and information in order to obtain a satisfactory plea. Our attorneys will be strong advocates for you during these negotiations.

Our attorneys are prepared to defend you against a wide variety of criminal charges, including:

DUI (Driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs) Simple assault Aggravated assault Minor in possession Disorderly conduct Drug paraphernalia Burglary Destruction of property Game and fishing violations Domestic violence Malicious mischief Drug offenses Forgery Shoplifting Auto theft Traffic violations Firearm charges Robbery

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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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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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