Generally speaking, the purpose of DUI penalties is to avoid recidivism. The goal is to ensure that the DUI offender does not repeat the offense out of fear of being punished again. That is why in most states, there is more emphasis placed on deferred adjudication programs and alcohol safety education. In Mississippi, all first-time DUI offenders are required to complete the Mississippi Alcohol Safety Education Program or MASEP within six months of conviction. This is a requirement and failure to complete the requirement will carry additional penalties. MASEP is no longer required for DUI offenders who are convicted a second time and more. Evidently, the policy intent behind MASEP is to deter offenders who are likely to never offend again. MASEP is also a factor in non-adjudication penalty process. The following discusses MASEP in more detail as well as what it entails.
What is MASEP?
MASEP is a state-sanctioned driver improvement program. It is administered under the authority of Mississippi's Implied Consent Law. In other words, Mississippi has mandated the program to all first-time offenders without direct consent. However, an individual's residency in the state or their commission of the DUI offense in the jurisdiction gives the state the implicit authority to require the program. The program consists of two interrelated units (operations and research and development). According to MASEP, the main objectives of the program is to increase the knowledge and understanding of traffic safety and substance abuse through research and analysis of the existing conditions, which will in turn deter the occurrences of DUI. MASEP has been part of the DUI penalty scheme since 1972.
Individuals who have access to MASEP courses gain access by way of a court order. The location and time of the course is listed on a court-issued document and the fee for the program is the responsibility of the offender. However, enrollment is not automatic. The individual has the onus to enroll in the course to fulfil the directive of the court order. While the offender completes MASEP, his or her license is suspended for 90 days for the duration of the course. It is important to note that individuals who live in other states can be compelled to complete a MASEP-equivalent course and also have their license suspended.
After completion of the MASEP course, the individual can then reinstate his or her Mississippi license. To complete the reinstatement, the individual will need a copy of his or her MASEP certificate, proof of liability insurance, and $175 reinstatement fee. Individuals who live in other states must follow the instructions for reinstatement of their license in the respective jurisdiction. Not attending an MASEP course is not acceptable. It is only permissible with court permission. As is evident, there is much weight placed on the effectiveness of MASEP to deter DUI offenses.
Let Us Help With Your DUI Case
Attorney James Robert Ferguson is a seasoned DUI attorney with experience in the DUI non-adjudication process and advising on MASEP requirements. If you have been charged with a DUI, contact us now. We will provide a unique approach to help you before and after the penalty stage.
See related blog posts:
Non-Adjudication Statute in Mississippi
A Closer Look at Mississippi’s First Offender DUI Law