DUI-Related Traffic Accidents
DUI is a serious crime no matter the state in which it is committed. All U.S. states want to ensure that the penalties handed down against DUI offenders will punish and deter repeat behavior. Not only is DUI a socially disruptive offense, but also it is dangerous for all parties involved including other motorists on the road. DUI offenders who end up causing traffic accidents are treated much more harshly than offenders who do not. The stakes are higher when injury occurs. A Mississippi court will take into account all aggravating circumstances when handing down DUI penalties. The treatment of the defendant at the sentencing stage will depend on the seriousness of the aggravating circumstances.
Felony vs. Misdemeanor
Most first and second DUI offenses in Mississippi are charged as misdemeanors. That is because these DUIs usually involve one person alone with possible passengers and no harm or injury to any party. First-time DUI offenders who cause a traffic accident but do not cause any harm are likely to be charged with a misdemeanor. If loss of property occurs, this type of offense can carry a harsher penalty. DUI offenders who cause harm or injury and even death will be charged with a felony aggravated DUI. The DUI statute in the Mississippi Annotated Code defines aggravated DUI as driving a motor vehicle in a negligent manner that causes the death of another or mutilates, disfigures, permanently disables, etc. another. This charge is an automatic felony irrespective of whether the person being charged has had prior offenses. This is because of the danger such a person presents to the community and the motivation to deter others from driving while impaired. Also, a drunk motorist is usually seen as negligent and reckless, which is the aggravating element of the crime.
Penalties for Aggravated DUI
In Mississippi, aggravated assault is an automatic felony charge. If the DUI is associated with a death or serious bodily injury of another, the offender is facing five to 25 years in jail. After jail time, the offender is required to obtain an ignition interlock restricted license for at least five or more years.
Your DUI Attorney
Attorney James Robert Ferguson is an experienced DUI attorney with years of experience defending DUI cases. Driving Under the Influence is a serious crime. If you have been charged with DUI, you need an experienced attorney. Attorney Ferguson is well-versed is DUI defense strategies tailored to your unique case. Attorney Ferguson understands the importance of putting the charge behind you. Call us now for a consultation.
See related blog posts:
Expect These Penalties for a First-Time DUI Conviction
DUI Penalties in Mississippi