In January of 2018, a Vietnam veteran suffered damages to his home after a drunk driver ran into it with his vehicle. The drunk driver was subsequently charged with his fourth DUI offense in Rankin County, Mississippi. Individuals who are convicted of a fourth DUI face stiffer sentences. A fourth DUI offense carries a minimum of two years and a maximum of 10 years in prison. These convictions are not eligible for expungement, as is the case with a first offense.
Before Mississippi Code 63-11-30 was replaced, the old DUI statute contained a loophole allowing repeat offenders to avoid stricter sentences for subsequent and fourth DUIs. According to the Rankin County Sheriff's Department legal counsel, Paul Holley, the old law allowed repeat convicted offenders to get off lightly because the time period would reset. Today, lawmakers have closed this loophole. As a result, repeat DUI offenders cannot evade the multiple year prison sentences that come along with a fourth DUI conviction. This mechanism also serves as a strong deterrent against individuals who are prone to recidivism.
DUI prevention is always a hot topic in the Mississippi legislature as well as among law enforcement authorities. According to a recent release, there is an uptick in DUI stops during big sporting events such as the Super Bowl. This pattern is similar on popular holidays. Data from a research agency shows that New Year's Day is the day with the highest readings of illegal blood alcohol content in Mississippi. Super Bowl Sunday into Monday comes in as the second or third day with the highest BAC readings. When people drink and drive, tragedy is not far away. That is why the Mississippi Highway Patrol reports an increase in crashes and fatalities that are attributed to impaired driving. The Mississippi Department of Transportation recently made a statistical release about drunk driving in the Magnolia State:
- In 2016, drunk driving fatalities represented 18% of total traffic deaths in Mississippi
- Each year, more than 10,000 people in Mississippi die due to drunk driving
- Alcohol involvement was reported in over 37% of all fatal bicycle and motorcycle crashes in 2012
From a defense standpoint, the Mississippi government is likely to “crack down” in a stringent manner if DUI offenses continue to increase in the state. As a DUI defendant with multiple offenses, you may face many years in prison if you lack mitigating factors. With a strong anti-DUI offender sentiment (due to increased fatalities), defense attorneys have an uphill battle in formulating winning defenses for individuals who have more than one DUI conviction.
Your Mississippi DUI Defense Attorney
Mississippi DUI laws are strict, as the state has seen an increase in DUI-related accidents and fatalities. A DUI charge is a serious matter. Luckily, you do not have to fight it alone. If you are seeking to fight your DUI charge, contact Attorney James Robert Ferguson. He is an experienced DUI defense attorney with years of experience formulating DUI defense strategies. Call us now for a consultation.