Facing a first-time DUI conviction can be a scary process for individuals who have never been through the criminal justice system. Defendants should be aware of some of the penalties and that come along with being a first-time DUI offender in the state of Mississippi. An experienced DUI attorney can help a first-time defendant pursue methods to remove the DUI convictions from his or her record or even avoid conviction altogether.
Jail Time is Possible
Yes, first-time DUI offenders can be subjected to jail time. In Mississippi, you can receive up to 48 hours in jail for a first DUI offense. However, whether jail time will be given or not will depend on the circumstances surrounding the offense. For example, even though it is a first-time offense, a defendant who was traveling 50 miles per hour over the posted speed can receive jail time due to the perceived recklessness of their actions. As is evident, actions that further place life and limb in danger can be seen as actions warranting jail time (although they do not constitute aggravated DUI). Another example is a first-time DUI offender who had a child in the car when the offense occurred. Again, the reckless nature of the offense and the possible harm to victims involved can land a first-time offender in jail.
First-Time Offenders are Eligible for Expunction
Unlike offenders with two or more DUIs, first-time offenders are eligible to have the DUI conviction expunged. However, the requirement that the defendant is a first-time offender is not the requirement to qualify for expunction. The other requirements state that the defendant must also be a non-commercial driver, must have submitted to a chemical test, the defendant's Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) must be below 0.16%, must not have any other DUI convictions or any DUI charges pending, must wait five years after successfully completing all court imposed conditions, must provide justification why expunction should be granted, and must not have previously had a non-adjudication or expunction of a DUI. As evident, the requirements for expunction sets a high bar. The first-time offender seeking expunction must not only stay DUI conviction-free for five years, but also have a BAC of less than 0.16%.
First-Time Offenders are Eligible Non-Adjudication
First-time offenders are also eligible for non-adjudication. Non-adjudication is similar to expunction, but operates for defendants to avoid the initial guilty verdict. In this instance, the court does not give the final judgement about the case. Instead, the person who is facing the guilty conviction is placed on probation, on a rehabilitation program, or on community service without adjudication of guilt. First-timers are eligible for non-adjudication if they are a private driver, have had no prior non-adjudication, have had no prior DUI convictions, provide justification as to why non-adjudication is appropriate, and complete all court imposed conditions.
Let Us Help With Your DUI Case
If you face a civil lawsuit after a DUI charge or conviction, please call us now. Attorney James Robert Ferguson is a seasoned DUI attorney with experience in pre and post conviction relief. Non-adjudication and expunction may be options for you if this is your first DUI offense. Contact us to determine your rights in the matter.
See related blog posts:
Non-Adjudication Statute in Mississippi
A Closer Look at Mississippi’s First Offender DUI Law