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Frequently Asked Questions about DUI in Mississippi

What BAC constitutes drunk driving in Mississippi?

To be considered under the influence of alcohol, a person age twenty-one or over must have a blood alcohol concentration of .08% or more and a person under the age of twenty-one must have a blood alcohol concentration of .02% or more.  If the vehicle is a commercial motor vehicle, a person with a blood alcohol level of .04% or more is considered to be under the influence of alcohol.  It is a driving offense to be under the influence of any drug or controlled substance which is unlawful under the Mississippi Controlled Substances Law.  For alcohol, the state is only required to prove that the driver was under the influence of alcohol, not that his driving was impaired; however, for other substances, the state is required to prove both that the driver was under the influence and that his driving ability was impaired.

When You Can Be Arrested for DUI in Mississippi?

A police officer must have probable cause to stop a car.   Probable cause means that a reasonable person would believe that a crime or some wrongdoing was being committed.  Once a police officer stops a car for suspected DUI or any other traffic violation, if the officer has probable cause to suspect that the driver is under the influence then the officer can arrest the driver for DUI.

The driver or operator of a motor vehicle can be charged with a DUI in Mississippi for four possible reasons: (1) for having a BAC of .08% or more (or for a person under the age of 21, .02% or more), (2) for being under the influence of alcohol, regardless of BAC or if the driver refused a chemical test for BAC,(3) for being under the influence of any substance that is illegal to possess under the Mississippi Controlled Substance Law, or (4) for being under the influence of any substance that impairs one’s ability to operate a motor vehicle.

Mississippi DUI law prohibits driving or otherwise operating a vehicle while impaired.  Operating a vehicle in Mississippi includes sitting behind the wheel of a vehicle while the motor is running.

What is an Ignition Interlock Device?

An ignition interlock device measures the operator’s BAC and prevents the vehicle from being operated f the BAC is higher than .02%.   Ignition interlocks are used to prevent repeat DUI offenses.  For first DUI convictions, the court has discretion to require ignition interlock for not less than one month following license reinstatement.   For second or subsequent convictions, the court must require ignition interlock

Can you receive a DUI for being on prescription drugs?

It is illegal to operate a motor vehicle while under the influence of any substance that impairs a person’s ability to operate a motor vehicle. These substances include any drug or substance that it is illegal to possess under Mississippi law and also prescription or over-the-counter drugs that impair a person’s ability to operate a vehicle.  This also includes the combination of alcohol and another substance that results in impairment even if each substance alone would not have been enough for a DUI charge.  Unlike for a DUI conviction for alcohol where at trial the prosecutor only needs to show that the driver’s BAC was .08% or higher but does not need to prove that the driver’s ability to operate the vehicle was actually impaired, for a DUI conviction for a substance other than alcohol the prosecutor must prove both that the driver was under the influence of some substance and that this substance resulted in impairment.


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