People in Memphis’s Mississippi suburbs probably could agree that drunk driving is dangerous.
Still, it might come as a surprise how easy it is to be accused of this criminal behavior, even when a person tries to avoid it.
For example, people might not realize that a person can still be charged with an alcohol-related DUI even if they do not test for .08 or more blood alcohol content.
A police officer can still investigate and determine from other factors that a person was too drunk to safely operate a motor vehicle and ask the prosecutor to file a criminal charge.
Moreover, it does not take an excessive number of drinks to reach the .08 BAC that Mississippi law considers automatically to be too much alcohol to operate a vehicle safely.
One study from a Tennessee university estimates, for example, that a person who weighs 140 pounds could be legally too drunk to drive after any combination of 3 beers, regular glasses of wine, or shots of liquor.
Someone who weighs 200 pounds would be close to legally drunk after 4 such drinks.
The penalties for drunk driving in Mississippi are serious
In Mississippi, a first-time DUI, with no special circumstances, can result in up to $1,000 in fines, mandatory alcohol education and up to 48 hours in jail or a mandatory class on the consequences of drunk driving. A license suspension or requirement to have an ignition-interlock device will also apply.
The person may qualify to have a first-time DUI not appear as a conviction on his or her record so long as he or she is not a commercial driver.
Subsequent offenses within 5 years lead to stiffer penalties. For example, a subsequent offender must receive at least a $600 fine, 5 actual days in jail and community service of at least 10 days. Judges and prosecutors have no discretion to impose a punishment less than the minimum penalties.
Mandatory diagnosis and treatment for alcohol abuse at one’s personal expense is also required.
Further offenses can lead to a felony conviction and a prison term. It should also come as no surprise that stiffer penalties may apply if the charge arose out of an injury accident.