Mississippi Alcohol Laws: Follow Them to Avoid Problems!

This page will help you understand Mississippi alcohol laws and avoid expensive fines or even jail. Not to mention time and embarrassment.

Mississippi alcohol laws might surprise. The state has a strong temperance history. It had state-wide prohibition long before the rest of the country.

Mississippi was also the first to ratify National Prohibition (1920-1933). After Repeal it kept its own prohibition for almost one-third of a century. Then it “reaffirmed prohibition.” In addition, state alcohol laws prohibit bringing alcohol through a dry county while traveling.

Yet Mississippi’s state-wide alcohol laws are in the U.S. mainstream.

The state has local option Therefore, localities set local laws. So today about half of the state’s counties are “dry.” That is, they prohibit the sale of alcoholic beverages.

              Overview

I.   Minimum Age Laws
II.  Other Alcohol Laws
III. Resources
IV.  Legal Advice

I. Minimum Age Laws

Many young people want part-time jobs. Many are in hospitality. Some involve selling or serving alcohol. What age is needed to serve alcohol in a restaurant? How about about for tending bar? What is it for selling alcohol for drinking off-site?

Mississippi alcohol laws permit adults to be servers in venues selling alcohol for drinking on-site. That is, the minimum age is 18. They require persons to be at least 21 to tend bar. The same to sell alcohol for drinking off-site

Those 18 or older may drink beer or light wine in private locations. A parent, guardian, or spouse must furnish it. It does not permit them to drink distilled spirits (liquor).

Standard Drinks

Distinguishing between spirits is based on a myth. The myth is that a drink of spirits has more pure alcohol than a regular beer or glass of dinner wine.

In fact, standard drinks of beer, dinner wine and spirits have the same pure alcohol content. It’s six-tenths of an ounce of. So they all have the same amount of alcohol.

The use of a false ID to buy alcohol is a crime. It may result in driver’s license suspension.

It’s also illegal for those under 21 to drive with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.02% or higher. One reason is we all make our own alcohol. We do it 24/7. See more at Our Body Produces Alcohol.

II. Other Mississippi Alcohol Laws

A. Selling Alcohol

Mississippi has a government alcohol monopoly. It’s for the sale of all wine over 14% alcohol and all spirits. As a result product selection is very limited and prices are high.

Package stores sell alcohol for drinking off-site. They may sell from 10 a.m. until 10 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays. But they may not sell on Sundays. That’s because of a Blue law. Nor on Christmas Day.

Off-site retailers may sell beer 24/7. But local option may restrict the hours of sale.

Other retailers sell alcohol for drinking on-site. They may sell from 10 a.m. until midnight Mondays through Saturdays.

On New Years Eve they may remain open until 1:00 a.m. And on New Years Day. If December 31 falls on a Sunday, they may sell from 1:00 p.m. to 1:00 a.m.

On-site businesses may sell beer from 7 a.m. until midnight seven days per week. Local option may reduce these sales hours. On the other hand, they may not expand them.

The state designates resort areas. These sales days and hours do not apply in these..

Under Age 21 Sales

Mississippi alcohol laws prohibit selling alcohol to those under 21. That includes adults under that age.

The penalty for doing so is a fine of $500 to $1,000. For a second offense, the penalty is severe. It’s a fine of $1,000 to $2,000 and/or jail up to one year. And the business loses its license.

Many Mississippi counties are dry. That is, they prohibit the sale of alcoholic beverages. In this map, wet counties are blue whereas dry counties are wellow.

mississippi alcohol laws

B. Buying Alcohol

Mississippi alcohol laws prohibit anyone under 21 from buying alcohol. The penalty for doing so is a fine of at least $200. Yet it could be as high as $500.

It’s also illegal for such a person to use a false ID in an attempt buy alcohol. The penalty is a fine of at least $200. But it could be up to $500. Also, there is a sentence for up to 30 days of community service.

The use of a false ID includes using another person’s ID, altering one’s own, or reproducing a fake ID. Selling false driver’s licenses is punishable with jail up to three three years. Plus a fine up to $5,000.

Other Information

Adults (people 18 and older) serving in the military may drink beer on military property.

Persons under the age of 21 may enter the premises of any business licensed to sell alcohol.

It’s illegal to bring any alcoholic beverages into Mississippi. Even to transport alcohol across dry counties. For example, when driving from one state to another.

C. Driving and Alcohol

Mississippi alcohol laws prohibit driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol and/or drugs.

DUI is driving with a BAC of 0.08% or higher. For those under age 21, it’s 0.02% or higher.

Mississippi alcohol lawsThose are the BAC limits. But drivers can still be convicted of DUI with a legal BAC. That’s because some people are impaired below the legal limit. Likewise, many people have developed high tolerance. Therefore, they are not impaired over the limit. Yet they may not use their lack of impairment in their defense.

It is legal to drink while driving. Although the driver’s BAC must remain under 0.08% while doing so.

Penalties for DUI depend on the facts of the case. That includes driver age, severity of the offense, driving history, and other factors. Penalties increase for DUIs involving crashes, injuries, or deaths. Of course, the severity of penalties also depend on the judge.

Age 21 or Older DUI Penalties

   First Offense

    • Jail for 48 hours.
    • A fine of of at least $250. But it could be up 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 (IID) on vehicle for restricted license. Of course, at the offender’s expense.
    • Financial responsibility (SR 22) for three years.

   Second Offense within Five Years

    • Prison for one to five years.
    • Fine of at least $600. Yet it could be up to $1,000.
    • Driving license suspension for two years.
    • License reinstatement fee of $175.
    • IID on vehicle for restricted license. Also at offender’s expense.
    • Financial responsibility (SR 22) for three years.
    • Possible vehicle forfeiture.
    • Community service of ten days to one year.
    • Financial responsibility (SR 22) for three years.

   Third Offense within Five years

    • Prison for one to five years.
    • Fine of at least $2,000. However, it could be up to $5,000.
    • Driver’s license suspension for five years.
    • License reinstatement fee of $175.
    • IID on vehicle for restricted license. Of course at offender’s expense.
    • Financial responsibility (SR 22) for three years.
    • Possible vehicle forfeiture.

Under Age 21 DUI Penalties

These are the minimum penalties for drivers with DUIs and a BAC between 0.02% and 0.08%. Judges usually impose additional penalties because of zero tolerance.

   First Offense

    • Driver’s license suspension for 90 days.
    • A fine of $250.

   Second Offense within Five Years

    • Driver’s license suspension for one year.
    • A fine of $500.

   Third Offense within Five Years

    • Driver’s license suspension for two years or age 21, whichever is longer.
    • A fine of $1,000.

Driver Rights

All drivers have a U.S. Constitutional right to decline a chemical test. But the state punishes those who use their right. It does so with a 90-day license suspension.

mississippi alcohol lawsImportant. There is no legal penalty for refusing to take a field sobriety test. These are highly unreliable. In fact, 30% of completely sober people fail them. That’s under ideal indoor conditions. So about one of every three people with zero BAC (0.00%) fail!

For this reason, lawyers strongly urge drivers to never, ever take them. They say to politely refuse. And to do so as often as necessary. So it might be wise to take their advice.

But this will take willpower. That is because police know many ways to convince drivers to take the tests. They often falsely insist that the law demands it. Not so. In fact, no state in the U.S. does!

They may argue that drivers can prove their innocence by passing the test. In fact, it is the state that must prove that the driver is guilty. Police themselves don’t think passing is proof of sobriety!

While investigating, police may legally lie. So don’t fall for it.

Discover much more at Never Take a Field Sobriety Test Say DUI Lawyers.

D. Boating and Alcohol

missippi alcohol lawsMississippi alcohol laws prohibit operating a watercraft under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs (BUI).

A BAC of 0.08% or higher shows alcohol intoxication. A watercraft is a vessel with a motor of 25 horsepower or higher. It also includes jet skis.

   First BUI Offense

    • Jail for up to 24 hours an/or a fine of at least $250. But it could be up to $1,000.
    • Completion of an approved boating safety course.

   Second BUI Offense within Five Years

    • mississippi alcohol lawsJail for two days to one year.
    • Fine of at least $600. But it could be up to $1,000.
    • Community service for ten days to one year.
    • Operation of watercraft prohibition for one year.

   Third BUI Offense within Five Years

    • Jail for 30 days to one year.
    • Fine of at least $800. And it could be up to $1,000.
    • Operation of watercraft prohibition for two years.

   Fourth BUI Offense within Five Years

    • Prison for 90 days to five years.
    • Fine of at least $2,000. Yet it could be up to $5,000.
    • Operation of watercraft prohibition for three years.

You might find these interesting.

III. Resources on Mississippi Alcohol Law

Use these to find more information.

IV. Legal Advice Mississippi Alcohol Laws

Mississippi alcohol laws can be confusing. This is true in all states. Courts can change their interpretation. Laws can conflict. They can be vague. It takes legal training to know them. Lawyers spend years in study. So don’t rely on this site. Nor on any other site.

Friends may give advice. Neighbors may give advice. Co-workers may give advice. Even family members may give advice. Smile and thank them. Then ignore what they say. Their advice is worth what you paid for it. That is, not much.

Get facts and advice about Mississippi alcohol laws from an expert. That is a lawyer holding a license in the state. It’s wise to pick one who deals only with DUI or alcohol cases..