When a suspected DUI offender is stopped, law enforcement must confirm their cursory conclusion that the driver is driving under the influence of alcohol or another controlled substance. The factual confirmation solidifies the charge, which will heighten the likelihood that the suspected offender will be found guilty. Furthermore, given that the Mississippi DUI statute requires a Blood Alcohol Content amount, the officers have to use testing available to them to bring charges against the offender under the statute. There are a few ways a law enforcement officer can make this confirmation.
The first manner is by conducting a field sobriety test. The field sobriety test is a preliminary test conducted to determine whether further testing is required to determine intoxication. It may also be the only test needed to determine intoxication if the subject is highly intoxicated. The field sobriety test consists of a battery of three tests to determine impairment. These tests are scientifically validated and they are admissible in court without regard to hearsay rules. Nowadays, many of these tests are recorded on dashboard cameras as they are administered. The next manner of testing is use of a Breathalyzer device. The Breathalyzer is a device that is scientifically calibrated to detect and read the levels of alcohol in the subject's body. It is also admissible in court given that the device is not defective. This method is not always error-free. The most reliable manner of determining impairment is by conducting a blood or urine test.
Consent Required, Refusal Possible
In Mississippi, as in many other states, law enforcement officers are required to seek consent before taking a chemical test. If the subject refuses to take the test, the officer can give the person a “refusal charge” based on an implied consent law. The implied consent law says that any person who refuses a chemical test is subject to an automatic penalty without prior knowledge of any such law. This is because the subject has impliedly consented to the chemical test due to his or her agreement to drive on public streets. Notably, a refusal to perform field sobriety testing does not carry the “refusal charge.”
Legal Recourse for Refusal
In Mississippi, a person who refuses to take a chemical test after suspicion of DUI will receive an automatic 90-day suspension of his or her driver's license. This suspension is separate and apart from the driver's license suspension the person may receive if subsequently convicted of a DUI.
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 in strategies to overcome a case without chemical evidence. Attorney Ferguson understands the importance of putting the charge behind you. Call us now for a consultation.