Receiving a DUI conviction creates quite a blemish on one's record especially if the person is a first-time offender with an otherwise clean record. DUI penalties are designed to have a deterrent effect on the offender, but it also shepherds them toward recovery from alcohol abuse. The penalties can serve as an educational mechanism to enlighten offenders about the effects of drinking and driving, some of which are fatal. The following is a review of what DUI offenders should expect after they are convicted of the offense.
Expect to Pay Court Fines and Costs
As a convicted DUI offender, you are subject to fines as part of your penalties. The amount of money the offender has to pay will depend on the amount of times they have been previously convicted of a DUI and aggravating factors of the conviction including harm caused to others. In Mississippi, the amount ranges from $250 to $5,000, with a first offender paying a median of about $600. The amount required is paid to the court and the court will set a deadline for the payment to be fulfilled. If the payment is not made in full in the allotted time frame, then further penalties are applied.
Expect to Attend an Alcohol Education Program
The state of Mississippi administers an alcohol education program called the Mississippi Alcohol Safety Education Program also known as MASEP. MASEP is a statewide driver improvement program that is court mandated for first-time offenders who drive under the influence of alcohol or other substances where the drug has impaired their ability to operate a motor vehicle. The goal of this mandatory program is to increase awareness of the many ill effects of substance abuse and the consequences of driving while under the influence. The program, as a whole, aims to improve the safety of the citizens of Mississippi and decrease DUI recidivism. Someone convicted of a DUI will have a court order to attend one of these courses with a deadline for completion. The judge overseeing the court order will normally request that the offender register and pay for the course themselves.
Expect to Have Your Driver's License Suspended
A suspended license can range from 90 days to five years depending on the number of times the person has had a DUI conviction and the severity of the offense. When a court orders a suspended license, it has the authority to include certain exceptions allowing the person to attend work or drive during emergency situations. The less severe the DUI conviction, the more likely a judge will make exceptions to the terms of the license suspension. A court that seeks to reinstate the license of an offender will usually order the offender to install an interlock ignition device in his or her vehicle. The device will ensure that the driver is not susceptible to recidivism.
Your DUI Attorney
Attorney James Robert Ferguson is an experienced DUI attorney with years of experience litigating alcohol and drug DUI cases. Driving Under the Influence is a serious crime. If you have been charged with DUI, you need an experienced attorney. Attorney Ferguson understands that the stakes are high and the importance of putting the charge behind you. Call us now for a consultation.
See related blog posts:
Underage Alcohol Offenses and Penalties
A Closer Look at Mississippi’s First Offender DUI Law