DUI charges are frequently accompanied by ancillary charges that can be a part of the circumstances surrounding the DUI charge. An offender who is charged with DUI can also be charged with disorderly conduct should the officer determine that his or her behavior is a disturbance to the peace. Similarly, a young DUI offender who willfully possesses alcohol can be charged with underage alcohol possession. These ancillary charges can make defending a DUI charge a bit more complex. If the offender is found not guilty of a DUI, the court will often drop ancillary charges that could have been precipitated by the DUI.
Due to the intoxicating effects of alcohol, offenders who are stopped can display behaviors and responses that are unacceptable by law. It is not unusual for an offender to receive both a DUI and a disorderly conduct charge. In Mississippi, disorderly conduct is defined as an intent to provoke a breach of the peace or circumstances that may cause a breach of the peace. Failing or refusing to promptly comply with or obey a request by a law enforcement officer can be considered grounds for a disorderly conduct charge.
If a DUI involves a minor who possesses alcohol, the minor can receive an ancillary charge for underage possession of alcohol. Mississippi's minimum age for possessing alcohol is 21 years of age. A minor who is found guilty of alcohol possession in Mississippi can be fined a maximum of $500. They are also subject to 30 days of community service and a 90-day license suspension. Mississippi does not permit the selling of alcoholic beverages to any person under the age of 21. Persons and businesses that violate this law are charged with a misdemeanor and are subject to a maximum fine of $1,000 for the first offense.
Under Section 63-11-30(12) of Mississippi law, a person over the age of 21 who is charged with driving under the influence of alcohol while transporting a child under the age of 16 is guilty of a separate offense of child endangerment. The statute emphasizes that the two offenses (DUI and child endangerment) cannot be merged for the purposes of prosecution nor for the purposes of applying penalties. As a result, the court will have to order two separate sentences against the person found guilty of both offenses.
Unlike all other states in America, Mississippi is the only state without an affirmative prohibition against possessing open alcohol containers in a vehicle. It is important to note that no matter the scenario, if you are caught intoxicated while operating a vehicle with a blood alcohol content of .08%, you are subject to a DUI charge. In addition, it does not mean the act of having an open alcohol container or consuming alcohol while driving is legal in the entire state of Mississippi. Although Mississippi as a state does not have an affirmative prohibition against open containers, certain counties and cities within the state do prohibit it.
Let Us Help with Your DUI Case
Attorney James Robert Ferguson is a seasoned DUI attorney with experience litigating DUI cases involving involving the ancillary charges discussed above. If you have been charged with a DUI as well as other charges, contact us now. We will provide a unique approach to help you put the charges behind you.