Mississippi law always proves to break the mold when it comes to alcohol-related laws. Traditionally, the legal drinking age is 21 years old. The laws in many states on this issue are straightforward that individuals under the age of 21 cannot consume beverages with a stated small percentage of alcohol. Mississippi differs on this matter. In Mississippi, a person who is 18 to 21 years old may consume beer while in presence of a parent or guardian. The statute is specific to the consumption of beer and excludes any liquor or wine containing more than 5% alcohol content. A similar law permits U.S. military personnel who are at least 18 years old to possess and consume beer on military property where the consumption of beer is authorized. Outside of these exceptions, Mississippi's underage drinking law resembles laws in a majority of U.S. states where individuals are not permitted until they are 21 years of age.
Underage Possession and Purchasing
Unlike the drinking age, Mississippi's minimum age for possessing alcohol is 21 years of age. This is, of course, outside of the specific exceptions laid out above. A minor who is found guilty of alcohol possession in Mississippi can be fined a maximum of $500.00. They are also subject to 30 days of community service and a 90 days suspended license. Mississippi does not permit the selling of alcoholic beverages to any person under the age of 21. Persons and businesses who violate this law are charged with a misdemeanor and are subject to a maximum fine of $1,000.00 for the first offense. A second offense carries a maximum fine of $2,000.00 and up to one year in jail. The minor purchasing the alcohol is also guilty of a misdemeanor and is fined a maximum of $500.00. They may also lose their driving privileges for up to 90 days for a first offense.
Under Age DUI Offenses
A minor is subject to a DUI charge if he or she is caught behind the wheel with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of at least 0.02% (this is lower than 0.08%, which is the BAC required to charge persons who are 21 and older). For the first offense, a minor who is found guilty of a DUI is subject to a 90-day suspended license, payment of a $250.00 fine, and is required attend an alcohol safety education course. The court may also require the minor to attend a victim impact panel. As the number of DUIs go up for the minor, the harsher the penalty. Although jail time is not required for minors, penalties that are applicable to persons 21 years and older, can be applied to underage DUI offenders.
Mississippi DUI Defense Attorney
Undeage drinking-related offenses put minors in a tough position. If they are not dealt with in a experienced manner such charges can have a long-term effect on the defendant. It is wise to involve an experienced DUI attorney to fight on your behalf. Attorney James Robert Ferguson is an experienced DUI defense attorney with years of experience successfully defending DUI cases on behalf for underage clients. Call us now for a consultation.