Avoid a DUI in Mississippi (5 Things You Need to Know about DUI)

To avoid a DUI in Mississippi, you should know at least these five things.


I.   DUI in Mississippi
II.  Penalties
III.The Costs
IV. Sobriety Tests
V.  Avoid Arrest

I. DUI in Mississippi

It is a criminal act to drive under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs. It’s called DUI in Mississippi. DUI is driving with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08% or higher. For commercial drivers, it’s 0.04% or more. And for those under age 21, it’s 0.02 or higher.

Mississippi has zero tolerance for drinking by young drivers. But it doesn’t insist on a zero BAC. That’s for a very good reason. The state wants to reduce the chances of convicting innocent young drivers.

dui in mississippiHere’s the logic. “Breathalyzers” or alcohol breath testers are unreliable. They don’t measure BAC. (That requires the analysis of a sample of actual blood.) They only estimate BAC.

Another problem is that everyone produces alcohol naturally within their bodies. And they do this 24/7. Obviously, that includes all young drivers. Also, many medications and foods contain alcohol. Surprisingly, this includes baked goods such as bread.

So permitting BACs under 0.02% is good government policy.

Also, it’s legal to drink while driving. However, the driver’s BAC must remain within the legal limits while at the wheel. Yet drivers can still be convicted of DUI with a legal BAC.

That’s because some people are impaired below the legal limit. And it’s illegal to drive while impaired. Likewise, many people have developed high tolerance. As a result, they are not impaired well over the limit. However, they may not use their lack of impairment in their defens

II. Penalties

The exact penalties imposed for DUI in Mississippi vary. Many factors cause these differences. They include such things as these.

  • dui in mississippi

    Please, no! Not her!

    Driver’s Age.

  • Type of license.
  • Estimated BAC.
  • The impairing substance(s)
  • Any prior DUIs.
  • Consequences of the DUI, if any (property damage, injuries, etc.)
  • Any minors in the vehicle.
  • Skill of driver’s attorney.
  • Characteristics of driver (demeanor in court, race, socio-economic status, etc.)
  • Beliefs and personality of judge hearing the case. That’s just the luck of the draw.

Some penalties are mandated, others are within ranges, and others are purely up to the judge.

One penalty sometimes imposed is to have an ignition interlock device(IID) installed on the offender’s vehicle. This prevents the vehicle from starting if there is alcohol on the driver’s breath. Learn more about ignition interlock devices.

Driver Age 21 or Older

First Offense

Imprisonment for 48 hours and/or a fine of $250 to $1,000.

Driving license suspension for at least 90 days. This is with completed Alcohol Safety Education Program and $200 fee.

License reinstatement fee of $175.

License hardship request fee of $50.

Ignition interlock device on vehicle at offender’s expense for restricted license.

Proof of increased vehicle insurance for three years.

Second Offense within Five Years

dui in mississippiImprisonment for one to five years.

Fine of $600 to $1,000.

Driving license suspension for two years.

License reinstatement fee of $175.

Ignition interlock device on vehicle at offender’s expense for restricted license.

Possible vehicle forfeiture.

Community service of ten days to one year.

Proof of increased vehicle insurance for three years.

Third Offense within Five years

Imprisonment for one to five years.

Fine of $2,000 to $5,000.

Driver’s license suspension for five years.

License reinstatement fee of $175.

dui in mississippi

Ignition Interlock Device

Ignition interlock device on vehicle at offender’s expense for restricted license.

Proof of increased vehicle insurance for three years.

Possible vehicle forfeiture.

Commercial Driver

First DUI

Prohibited from driving a commercial vehicle for one year.

Penalties listed above for drivers 21 and older also apply.

Second DUI

Prohibited from driving a commercial vehicle for at least three years.

Penalties listed above for drivers 21 and older also apply.

Third DUI

Prohibited from driving a commercial vehicle for life. No other penalties apply.

Driver Under Age 21

First Offense

dui in mississippiDriver’s license suspension for 90 days.

Required fine of $250.

Complete alcohol safety education program

Second Offense within Five Years

Driver’s license suspension for one year.

Required fine of $500.

Diagnostic assessment and treatment for drug and/or alcohol abuse. Offender pays all costs of assessment and treatment.

Third Offense within Five Years

Driver’s license suspension for two years or age 21, whichever is longer.

A fine of up to $1,000.

Diagnostic assessment and treatment for drug and/or alcohol abuse. Offender pays all costs of assessment and treatment.

Drivers under 21 are also subject to penalties for drivers 21 and older.

III. The Costs

Legal Defense

Getting charged with an DUI in Mississippi is expensive. And this is true even if you’re innocent. Of course, it’s even more expensive if a judge or jury convicts you.

The cost of a legal DUI defense is very hard to estimate. That’s because the complexity of cases varies widely. And more complex cases take more of a lawyer’s time. That means more money.

dui in mississippiIt’s wise to select an experienced lawyer who specializes in DUI defense. The knowledge and experience of such a lawyer is invaluable. In fact, such a lawyer may take less time.

Its obvious that simply asking lawyers how much they charge per hour isn’t helpful. It’s like asking a car dealer how much it costs to buy a car.

Other Costs

There are a number of other costs. They may include fines, court costs, property damage, medical expenses, possible loss of employment, increased insurance rates, and other expenses. The total can be high. It can easily be more than lawyer fees and expenses. Therefore, the total cost of an DUI can easily be tens of thousands of dollars.

In addition, there are non-money costs as well. They may include pain and suffering, feelings of guilt, embarrassment, driving license suspension, loss of friendships, and many others.

Knowing the high costs of a DUI is very useful. It’s a great motivation. That can help us try to avoid getting one.

IV. Sobriety Tests

Chemical Tests

dui in mississippiAll states require drivers to submit to alcohol breath tests (estimators). That, in spite of their scientifically proven unreliability.

However, all drivers have a Constitutional right to decline taking a chemical BAC test. In spite of that, the state punishes those who use their right. For the first use of that right, the state suspends the license for 90 days. If the right is used on a second occasion, the penalty is another 90-day suspension. However, if the driver was convicted of DUI after the first use, the penalty is a one-year suspension.

Field Sobriety Tests

However, no state requires drivers to take a field sobriety test. And that’s good. Simply put, field sobriety tests lack validity. That’s why about one-third of completely sober people with a 0.00% BAC fail them. And they do so under ideal conditions.

dui in mississippiNaturally, taking a field sobriety test on an uneven highway shoulder after being pulled over by police and being very nervous is far from ideal. So the “real world” failure rate for completely sober people must be much higher.

Understandably, lawyers strongly urge drivers never to submit to any field sobriety test. On the other hand, police want suspects to take them. They often falsely insist the law requires it. It doesn’t. Or they say that passing it proves you’re innocent. It doesn’t.

An officer who pulls over a driver for suspected drinking and driving is conducting a criminal investigation. The officer may legally lie to you. Remember that if you are a suspect in a crime, the police officer is your adversary.

Discover much more about field sobriety tests. You won’t like what you learn. But knowledge really is power to protect yourself. Also, learn What to Do If You Are Pulled Over.

V. Avoid Arrest

Obviously, one way to avoid a DUI is by abstaining from alcohol. Another choice is to use a Designated Driver or use public transportation.

Most drivers enjoy drinking alcohol, at least on occasion. They may lack a Designated Driver or access to public transportation. And they may be unable to afford Uber or Lynks.

So how can drivers drink before driving, yet avoid arrest? The answer is simple and legal. Maintain a low BAC.

These guidelines can help keep a low BAC.

  • dui in mississippi

    Standard Drinks

    Remember that standard drinks of beer, wine and spirits have equivalent amounts of pure alcohol.

  • Have no more than one standard drink each hour. Preferably less.
  • Avoid non-standard drinks. This makes it easier to keep track of alcohol intake.
  • Eat and snack while drinking. This is very important!
  • Have a non-alcoholic drink between alcoholic ones.
  • Accept an alcoholic drink only when it fits your consumption schedule.
  • Never engage in any drinking game.
  • Don’t try to “keep up” with the drinking of others.
Arrested for DUI in Mississippi?

This website strongly opposes impaired driving. But it also supports the U.S. Constitution and the rights it grants both the innocent and the guilty.

If you’re charged with an DUI in Mississippi, contact a lawyer immediately. The attorney should specialize in drinking and driving cases. Better yet is one whose practice is limited to such cases.

The MississippiBar (lawyer) Association provides advice on how to select a lawyer. Also, the Martingale guide offers a free on-line database with lawyers by specialty and geographic location. In addition, it provides free client and peer evaluations.

Don’t rely on this or any other site for legal information.


Brezina, C. I’ve Gotten a DWI/DUI, Now What? NY: Rosen, 2016.

CDC. Teen Drinking and Driving. Atlanta: 2012. (website)

___. Impaired Driving. Washington: 2018. (website)

Gillespie, L. Police Encounters. Know Your Rights. Gillespie, 2014.

Hudson, T. The Drinker’s Guide to Driving: The Secrets of DUI, From One of America’s Top DUI Lawyers. Cork: BookBaby, 2013.

Keech, C. & Fairchild, C. Dude, What are My Rights? Kansas City, MO: Keechild, 2014.

Lauterjung, L. DUI law for Drivers. How to Avoid DUI Arrests and How to Handle a DUI Stop. Lauterjung, 2012.

Nevels, T. Avoid DWI and Marijuana Charges. Cork: BookBaby, 2015.

NHTSA. Drunk Driving. Washington: 2018. (website)

Sagsletter, R. Rights During a Police Stop / DUI in the United States. What Officers Can and Cannot Do. Denver, CO: Outskirts, 2012.