Mississippi Drunk Driving Laws

When is a Driver Considered to be Legally Drunk in Mississippi?

  • Non-commercial drivers age 21+ are considered legally drunk when their blood alcohol level is .08 or more.
  • Drivers of commercial vehicles are legally drunk when their blood alcohol concentration is .04 percent or greater. In Mississippi, school bus drivers are commercial drivers.
  • Drivers under 21 are legally drunk when their blood alcohol level is .02 or greater.

Penalties for Drunk Driving in Mississippi

  • First-time offenders are subject to a fine of $250 to $1,000, imprisonment for up to 48 hours, or both. These offenders are also required to attend and complete an alcohol safety education program. The driver’s license suspension period is 30 to 90 days. An ignition interlock will be required for 90 days after the suspension period.
  • A person who commits a second offense within five years of the first offense faces five days to one year in prison. A second-time offender is also subject to pay a fine of $600 to $1,500 and perform community service work for 10 days to one year. The driver’s license suspension period is 45 days. In addition, the sentencing judge is required to order the impoundment of all vehicles registered to the convicted offender for the entire driver’s license suspension period. If, however, other drivers in the household are dependent on the vehicle, the court may order the installation of an ignition interlock system in lieu of impoundment. After the offender’s driver’s license is reinstated, the court may order the offender to use an ignition interlock system for one year. Any person convicted of a second DUI must also receive an in-depth diagnostic assessment. If the assessment reveals the offender is in need of treatment and if the offender successfully completes treatment, the offender will be eligible for reinstatement of his or her driver’s license after one year.
  • A person who commits a third or subsequent DUI within five years faces a term of imprisonment of one to five years. These offenders are also subject to pay a fine of $2,000 to $5,000. The offender’s vehicle will be seized and may be subject to forfeiture. The driver’s license suspension period is two years, with a three year ignition interlock period subsequently. Any person convicted of a third or subsequent DUI may also receive an in-depth diagnostic assessment. If the assessment reveals the offender is in need of treatment and if the offender successfully completes treatment, the offender will be eligible for reinstatement of his or her driver’s license after three years.
  • A fourth DUI may result in a fine of between $3,000 and $10,000, between 2 and 10 years imprisonment and a 5-year license suspension.

Additional Penalty for a DUI that Causes Death or Certain Injuries to Another

If a person commits a DUI that 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, the offender will be guilty of a separate felony for each death or injury and will be imprisoned for five to 25 years for each such death or injury.

Commercial Drivers

In addition to other penalties associated with Mississippi’s DUI laws, a commercial driver convicted of DUI for the first time while driving a commercial vehicle be suspended from driving a commercial vehicle for one year. If, however, the driver was transporting hazardous materials at the time of the violation, the suspension period is three years. A commercial driver who commits a second DUI while operating a commercial vehicle will be suspended from driving a commercial vehicle for life, which may or may not be reduced to a period of 10 years.

Drivers Under 21

The section of Mississippi’s DUI laws that applies to minors is called “Zero Tolerance for Minors.” The provisions of this law apply only when a person under 21 drives with a BAC of .02 or more, but lower than .08. If the underage offender’s BAC measures .08 or greater, he or she will be subject to the penalties applied to adults.

  • Upon conviction of a person under 21 for a first offense under the Zero Tolerance law, the offender’s driver’s license will be suspended for 90 days. The offender will also be fined $250 and be required to attend and complete an alcohol safety education program. The judge may also require attendance at a victim impact panel.
  • Upon a second conviction within a five-year period, the offender’s driver’s license will be suspended for one year. The offender will also be subject to pay a fine of up to $500. A second-time underage offender may receive an in-depth diagnostic assessment. If the assessment reveals the offender is in need of treatment and if the offender successfully completes treatment, the offender will be eligible for reinstatement of his or her driver’s license after six months.
  • For a third or subsequent conviction within a five-year period, the offender’s driver’s license will be suspended until he or she reaches 21 or for two years, whichever time period is longer. The offender will also be fined up to $1,000 and be required to complete treatment in an alcohol program.

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What is Mississippi’s “Immunity from Liability of Persons Who Lawfully Furnished or Sold Intoxicating Beverages to One Causing Damage” Statute?

The Mississippi legislature found that the drinking of alcohol, rather than its sale and service, is the proximate cause of any injury. Under this law, licensed drinking establishments that sell and serve alcohol to persons who may lawfully purchase alcohol are not liable to the drinker or any other person for injuries caused by intoxication. This law also states that social hosts who serve or furnish alcohol to persons who may lawfully consume alcohol are not liable for injuries suffered as a result of intoxication. These limits of liability, however, do not apply to any person who causes or contributes to the consumption of alcohol when it can be shown that the person making the purchase of alcohol was at the time of sale visibly intoxicated. Of course, because it is illegal to sell or furnish alcohol to a minor, this statute does not bar liability for injuries caused by the sale or service of alcohol to a minor.

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Criminal Penalties for Selling or Furnishing Alcohol to a Minor

In Mississippi, it is a crime to sell or furnish alcohol to a minor. A person who violates this law will be punished by a fine of $500 to $1,000 for a first offense. A person who commits a second or subsequent offense is subject to a fine of $1,000 to $2,000, imprisonment for up to one year, or both.

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Criminal Penalties for Selling of Furnishing Alcohol to a Visibly Intoxicated Person

In Mississippi, it is a crime to sell or furnish alcohol to a visibly intoxicated person. A person who violates this law is subject to a fine of up to $500, imprisonment in a county jail for up to six months, or both.

Need more information on state laws? Learn more about the laws where you live.

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Note: Our attorneys are licensed to practice law in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio, Maryland, and Virginia. This information is not intended to solicit clients for matters outside of the states of Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia, Maryland, and Virginia, although if you are injured in an accident, we have relationships with other personal injury attorneys and lawyers throughout the United States.

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