If a driver in Mississippi drives while under the influence of a substance that impacts their ability to operate a vehicle safely, other drivers on the road are at risk. Drivers who are injured in a crash due to the intoxicated driver may be able to seek compensation for their losses.
When you see the consequences of DUI and DWI in Mississippi explained in detail, the gravity of drunk driving under the law is clear. Our law firm helps victims of drunk driving in Mississippi build and pursue a claim for recovery to hold the other driver accountable under civil law.
Does Mississippi Use DWI or DUI for Drunk Driving?
Some states use DWI or driving while intoxicated or impaired in reference to drunk driving. Other states, like Mississippi, use the term DUI or driving under the influence as the legal terminology for driving drunk.
There may be some nuances between the concept of “while intoxicated” and “under the influence.” However, the terms generally mean the same thing. They are often used interchangeably to describe someone operating a motor vehicle after using alcohol or another substance that impacts their ability to drive with the care and caution required of all drivers.
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When Is a Driver Considered Under the Influence According to Mississippi Law?
According to Miss. Code Ann. § 63-11-30, a driver is under the influence when:
- They have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08% or higher for drivers 21-years-old and over
- They have a BAC of .02% or higher for drivers younger than 21
- They have a BAC of .04% or higher when they are operating a commercial vehicle
- They are under the influence or in a state of intoxication that reduces the normal ability for clarity and control
Substances can include illegal drugs as well as prescription drugs that have not been prescribed to you.
Civil Consequences of Driving Under the Influence
Along with the criminal penalties of DUI in Mississippi, there may also be civil consequences involving negligence or recklessness for drunk driving. If the person driving under the influence causes a crash that hurts another driver, they may be liable for the injured driver’s losses.
Victims of drunk driving can file a claim with the drunk driver’s insurance company or file a personal injury lawsuit to recover compensation for their injuries and other losses from the crash. Regardless of whether criminal charges are filed or what happens in the criminal case, drunk driving accident victims may be able to request compensation for medical bills, pain and suffering, and several other kinds of damages.
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Punitive Damages Are Available for Victims of DUI Accidents in Mississippi
In addition to the other types of damages possible for injury victims in a drunk driving accident, punitive damages may also be available. Punitive damages are awarded as punishment to the defendant for grossly negligent or particularly egregious behavior. An award for punitive damages is in addition to your other damages.
Possible Penalties Intoxicated Drivers Can Face
When discussing charges of DWI or DUI, there are several different criminal penalties possible depending on the circumstances of the drunk driving event, including:
Jail time ranging from:
- First offense: Up to 48 hours
- Second offense: 5 days to 1 year
- Third offense: 1 to 5 years
Fines in the range of:
- First offense: $250 to $1,000
- Second offense: $600 to $1,500
- Third offense: $2,000 to $5,000
Driver license suspension terms of:
- First offense: 90 days to 1 year
- Second offense: 2 years
- Third offense: 5 years
Additional penalties that may also apply in certain DUIs include:
- Alcohol safety program
- Substance abuse treatment
- Community service
- Additional fines and jail time for aggravating factors
- Ignition interlock device required
- Vehicle seizure
Is a DUI a Felony?
When determining if a DUI is a felony, it will depend on specific parameters. If the DUI is a first or second offense, it is a misdemeanor. A DUI is a felony in Mississippi if it is a third offense within five years of the last two convictions for DUI.
Additionally, in 2016 Mississippi passed Senate Bill 2572 to add an amendment to their DUI laws that created a fourth offense law. Under the new law, a fourth DUI is a felony, regardless of the time between the last convictions. In Mississippi, DWI and DUI convictions from out-of-state are counted to determine whether it is a second, third, or fourth offense.
Contact Our Office for Help Today if an Intoxicated Driver Injured You
Drunk driving can cause serious injuries, property damage, and even death. The Morris Bart law firm can help you pursue a claim for compensation and gather key information like the DUI history of the other driver to support your claim.
Call us at (800) 537-8185 to speak with a lawyer for your free consultation if you were injured by a drunk driver.
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