Do you need a DUI Defense Lawyer?
If you have been already been charged with a DUI then the answer is yes, you do need an attorney! You need a DUI criminal defense lawyer to start working on your case today. The police and the prosecutor's office have already started collecting evidence against you when they stopped you, including collecting videos from the police officers, Field Sobriety Tests that were done roadside or at the station and/or blood, breath or urine test results. That's why it is important to contact us immediately. (228) 872-8752
Our Ocean Springs DUI & DWI lawyers represent clients throughout Mississippi for criminal defense of DUI charges. Our DUI attorneys handle a wide variety of criminal charges but defense of DUI (alcohol) or DWI (drugs) crimes remains our focus. To have any chance of beating a Driving Under the Influence (DUI) charge, you need a trained, experienced and focused DUI lawyer on your side.
What is the legal blood alcohol content (BAC) in Mississippi and should I blow into the breath test machine?
In Mississippi, you can receive a DUI if your blood alcohol content (BAC) is .08 or above. However, the legal limit for people under 21 years old (.02 and above) and those driving a commercial vehicle (.04 and above) have lower BAC limits. If you blow into the intoxilyzer machine and blow at or above the legal limit, then the police officer and/or prosecutor does not have to prove that you were impaired to receive a guilty verdict from the Judge. You should never consent to a breath, blood or urine test unless you are sure that you have not consumed alcohol, prescription or illegal drugs. The phrase about not consenting to the breath test that you have undoubtedly heard, heck no don't blow, is true. The reason why is that it much more difficult for a DUI defense lawyer to convince a Judge that you were not driving under the influence when the prosecution can start trial with blood, breath or urine evidence showing that your blood alcohol content (BAC) was over the legal limit. However, it can be done and that is one of the reasons you need an experienced DUI defense lawyer.
What does the Prosecutor have to prove to find me guilty of a DUI in Mississippi?
What factors affect the sentencing guidelines for a DUI conviction?
The nature and range of possible penalties for a Driving under the influence (DUI) conviction in Mississippi depend on:
What are the penalties for a DUI Conviction in Mississippi?
First (1st) Offense
What are the steps in hiring a DUI lawyer from Haug & Farrar?
1. Give us a call, (228) 872-8752, or email, firstname.lastname@example.org.
2. We will setup a phone or office meeting with you and a DUI criminal defense lawyer. This meeting is 100% free and it is your choice whether you want to hire us at the meeting, take some time to decide, hire someone else, or no one at all. There is absolutely no risk in giving us a call and having a free consultation. It is very important to know your options as quickly as possible as your driver's license, job, future, and/or freedom may be at risk.
3. A DUI attorney will discuss your options, specifically tailored to the Police Department, Court, and facts of your case. Every case is different and every Court, Judge, Prosecutor and Police Officer handles a DUI investigation a little differently.
4. The criminal defense lawyer you meet with will give you a quote for our services and discuss potential payment options to hire us.
5. If hired, we will let the Court know that we have been retained by you by sending in a letter of representation and plea of not guilty. If represented by us, you will most likely not have to show up for the Court date listed on ticket. The date listed on your DUI ticket is called an arraignment date and the sole purpose of this date is to plead guilty or not guilty. One of our DUI attorneys will plead NOT GUILTY for you and therefore you will likely not have to attend this first date.
6. We will request discovery from the Court, Prosecutor or District Attorney's Office. Discovery is the evidence that the police and prosecutor have collected against you and by law we have a right to examine this evidence, including videos, field sobriety test notes, police reports, breath, blood or urine test results, etc. We will forward a copy of your discovery to you.
7. Our DUI lawyers will speak with witnesses, collect evidence, and talk to the prosecutor and police officers involved, with the purpose of preparing your defense.
8. Our criminal defense attorneys will go over the case, and all of your options. We will prepare your case for trial, work out plea deals with the prosecutor and/or police officer and provide you with all of the information you need to make informed decisions about your case.
9. Then, we will attend the trial hearing together. It is our job to get the very best result for each client and every client's case is different. Sometimes the best outcome in a case is complete dismissal of the case, other times it is plea deals, some of which will keep a DUI off of your record, like petitioning the Court for non-adjudication, probation or for a lesser offense, and other times the best result may require a trial.
What kind of DUI testing may the police officer perform?
1. General Observations: The first thing a trained DUI police officer will document is his trained observations regarding your eyes, speech, balance, walking gait and whether he smells a substance like alcohol or marijuana on you. Very often they will start off by noting whether your eyes are bloodshot, whether you slurred your speech, were off balance, swayed while you walked, or whether he or she smelled alcohol or marijuana on your breath.
2. Standardized Field Sobriety Tests (FSTs): Police officers with DUI arrest training will often ask if you are willing to perform some field sobriety tests for him or her (this is completely voluntary and you should deny this testing if you have consumed any substance that could potentially impair your senses). The standard tests include:
A. Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN) Test: Nystagmus is involuntary twitching of a person's eye. Everyone has nystagmus to some degree but a person under the influence of alcohol will likely have a greater degree of nystagmus. An experienced DUI lawyer should be able to keep this test from being used against you in Court. The reliability of the HGN test is very controversial.
B. Walk and Turn (WAT) Test: This test asks you to take nine (9) steps, heel-to-toe, while acting like you are balancing on a straight line, then pivot on one foot while turning around, and then do the same thing as you return to the location you started at. The reliability of this test is very controversial.
C. One Leg Stand (OLS) Test: This test asks you to stand with one foot approximately six (6) inches off the ground while balancing with your other leg and count out loud beginning with one thousand until told to stop by the police officer who is timing you for thirty (30) seconds. The police officer is grading this test by looking at whether you are swaying, using your arms to balance, hopping or putting your foot down. The reliability of this test is very controversial.
3. Portable Breath Test (PBT): Most police officers and state troopers in Mississippi have access to a handheld portable breath test. If you voluntarily blow into handheld machine, it will often give the officer or trooper a blood alcohol content (BAC) analysis of your breath and tell him or her whether you are likely at .08 BAC or above. Handheld PBTs are inadmissible at trial in Mississippi but may be used for probable cause to arrest you and take you to the police station for further testing.
4. Breath Test Machine (Intoxilyzer 8000): The only breath test machine allowed for use under Mississippi law is called the Intoxilyzer 8000. It attempts to measure the concentration of alcohol on your breath and extrapolates that information to give a BAC reading. The reliability of this machine is very controversial and an experienced DUI attorney may be able to refute the test results.
5. Blood or Urine Tests: An officer may ask you to take a blood or urine sample voluntarily. If you refuse to give a breath sample for the Intoxilyzer machine or voluntarily give a blood or urine sample then the police officer may or may not ask a Judge for a warrant to take a blood or urine sample.
What is the DUI law for people under 21 years old?
Minors under 21 years old who receive a DUI conviction
(3) Zero Tolerance for Minors.
(a) This subsection shall be known and may be cited as Zero Tolerance for Minors. The provisions of this subsection shall apply only when a person under the age of twenty-one (21) years has a blood alcohol concentration of two one-hundredths percent (.02%) or more, but lower than eight one-hundredths percent (.08%). If the person's blood alcohol concentration is eight one-hundredths percent (.08%) or more, the provisions of subsection (2) shall apply.
(i) A person under the age of twenty-one (21) is eligible for nonadjudication of a qualifying first offense by the court pursuant to subsection (14) of this section.
(ii) Upon conviction of any person under the age of twenty-one (21) years for the first offense of violating subsection (1) of this section where chemical tests provided for under Section 63-11-5 were given, or where chemical test results are not available, the person shall be fined Two Hundred Fifty Dollars ($ 250.00); the court shall order the person to attend and complete an alcohol safety education program as provided in Section 63-11-32 within six (6) months. The court may also require attendance at a victim impact panel.
(c) A person under the age of twenty-one (21) years who is convicted of a second violation of subsection (1) of this section, the offenses being committed within a period of five (5) years, shall be fined not more than Five Hundred Dollars ($ 500.00).
(d) A person under the age of twenty-one (21) years who is convicted of a third or subsequent violation of subsection (1) of this section, the offenses being committed within a period of five (5) years, shall be fined not more than One Thousand Dollars ($ 1,000.00).
(e) License suspension is governed by Section 63-11-23 and ignition interlock is governed by Section 63-11-31.
(f) Any person under the age of twenty-one (21) years convicted of a third or subsequent violation of subsection (1) of this section must complete treatment of an alcohol or drug abuse program at a site certified by the Department of Mental Health.
Other Potential Effects of a DUI Conviction
• Negative effects on your credit rating
• Prevention from entering foreign countries including Canada
• Loss of a Mississippi commercial driver’s license (CDL)
• Increased car insurance costs (potentially required to have SR-22 insurance)
• Loss of your home (eviction from a rental property)
• Loss of ability to drive a company vehicle – and therefore often your job.
• Loss of pilot’s license
• Required to use a Mississippi DUI Ignition Interlock Device
• Having your vehicle impounded and towed
• You may be unable to rent a vehicle
• Court fees, legal bills, court-ordered alcohol classes, Mississippi DUI classes & licensing fees
• You will be completely prevented from obtaining certain jobs
• Delay or denial of green card application for citizenship
What can a DUI Lawyer do for me?
1. Trial. Only a licensed Mississippi DUI attorney has the training and education to take your case to trial and win or leverage the facts and law on your side to cut a deal that may keep the DUI from going on your driving record;
2. Discovery. A DUI attorney can request discovery from the state to defend your case. (i.e. get the evidence that the police, city or state have against you) This may include:
4. Negotiate. A DUI lawyer is licensed and trained to talk with the prosecutor, police officer and court to find the best resolution for your case.
5. Fight against the penalties, fines and other side effects of a DUI conviction. Look at the penalties and other possible effects of a DUI conviction on this page. Can you really just leave it all up to chance? A DUI conviction can affect you for the rest of your life. Hire a dui attorney today. 228-872-8752
What do I say when I am pulled over for a DUI?
FIRST RULE: Always be nice and respectful to the police officer investigating his case. Whether you are eventually proven not guilty, guilty or reach a plea deal the officer may have to testify or the Judge and/or prosecutor may learn about how you acted during your questioning, arrest or detainment. Further, you should assume that you are being videotaped at all times while being questioned, arrested or detained.
SECOND RULE: DO NOT ADMIT TO ANYTHING AND GO STRAIGHT TO RULE THREE! For example: If you are pulled over and asked how many drinks you have had, everyone says I had one or two drinks earlier. When you say this, the officer is trained to hear "YES I DRANK ALCOHOL TODAY" and this is enough information to arrest or detain you for further investigation.
THIRD RULE: YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO REMAIN SILENT. Please use it. Tell the officer: "I respectfully invoke my right to remain silent and wish for my attorney to be present if I am being detained, arrested or questioned."
FOURTH RULE: YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO AN ATTORNEY. If you are arrested, detained and/or already charged with a crime, call a criminal defense attorney immediately at (228) 872-8752 so an experienced DUI lawyer can start working on your case today.
Driver's License Suspensions for DUIs
Administrative license suspension for refusing the breath test
(i) For a first offense: one hundred twenty (120) days;
(ii) For a second offense: one (1) year;
(iii) For a third offense: for the full period of the person's sentence; upon release from incarceration, the person will be eligible for only an interlock-restricted license for three (3) years;
(iv) For a fourth or subsequent offense: for the full period of the person's sentence; upon release from incarceration, the person will be eligible for only an interlock-restricted license for ten (10) years.
DUI convictions for offenders under 21 years old
(i) For a first offense: one hundred twenty (120) days;
(ii) For a second offense: one (1) year;
(iii) For a third offense occurring within five (5) years, suspend or deny the driving privilege for two (2) years or until the person reaches the age of twenty-one (21), whichever is longer.