By: Lance Mixon, Co-Author of the Magnolia State's Leading treatise on Mississippi DUI Laws
After a DUI arrest, many accused drivers get their first education on how expensive a drunk driving case can be in Mississippi. This is not due to the cost of DUI lawyers, which is a mere pittance compared to the real “life impact” cost over a lifetime.
By way of example, in SC (which has an integrated automobile insurance system) a DUI on your record triples your premiums for at least 3 years. Plus, in Mississippi, the third lifetime DUI offender must install and pay for an ignition interlock device for five years after they are released from prison. Importantly, almost all convicted of Mississippi DUI laws will have difficulty in finding jobs as DUI offenders.
In answering the common question of the cost of a DUI, knowing the categories of long-term consequences of being convicted of a MS DUI can be helpful. As you may have guessed, a DUI second offense, or a felony 3rd DUI in Mississippi in your LIFETIME creates a high degree of difficulty in numerous areas. Below you can see that clearly in the fifty-two-year suspension of a commercial truck driver's right to operate an 18-wheeler, and in a DUI 2nd offense.
Why a DUI First Offense Is Far Better Than a 2nd DUI in MS
Your best ray of hope is that you are only facing DUI charges FIRST offense in the Magnolia State. A 1st offense DUI is where a person still has hopes for a normal life after DUI, assuming they qualify for DUI expungement or a non-adjudication DUI.
Every week some poor soul calls our law office near me to ask to have his or her "DUI conviction expunged." This is a complex question that often entails obtaining the persons' full driving history. This is because the USA has several dozen different sets of laws for driving under the influence.
States like South Carolina, Georgia, North Carolina, Florida and Virginia prohibit EVER having a DUI record restriction or expunction. In such states, the question of how much does a DUI cost over 10 years is higher than those states that offer methods for the conviction to "age off" (California), be eligible for expunging (MS and others), through a form of diversion or non-adjudication (Maryland, Illinois, West Virginia, Mississippi), or a conditional discharge of some type.
What Is the Cost of DUI in Mississippi? 10 DUI Penalties and Costs
Travel Restrictions - Certain countries like Canada block entry into that sovereign nation, even for a first offense DUI. Changes to Canadian immigration and "legal entry" laws were also toughened for those with a reckless driving conviction on their criminal history. Plus, under the Interstate Compact law, any repeat DUI (lifetime) is restricted from leaving his or her state without permission from the incoming state, and permission from the probation or parole officer in the state of residence.
Car Insurance Costs - The higher expense of DUI car insurance will cost a lot of your savings. Plus, you typically will not be offered higher limit policies, inasmuch as the auto insurers punish you for being a high risk. State Farm will take away the agency of any person franchised with them if a DUI is ever put on their record. Simply stated, car insurance quotes can be double, triple or quadruple your prior premiums.
Military Service - Many young men and women find their job opportunities limited in the last decade. Some want to join the military and look at Navy, Marine, Coast Guard or Army service to help them get additional training and then use that valuable training to start a career. Many who are arrested for impaired driving search the web for,"Can I join the army with a DUI on my record". The conditional answer is "maybe." Not even 12 months of probation will allow you to enlist, since your assignments can take you overseas, and you can't comply with reporting to probation. You certainly have to complete all terms and conditions, which (in some states) can take 3 years. DUI in the reserves can also be a big issue, since maintaining your availability for annual training could be disrupted.
Car Rental Eligibility - Most car rental companies will not rent to any driver with a bad driving history. When you read the fine print on terms and conditions, a DUI or reckless driving on your criminal record is a basis for denying you the right to rent a car. A few companies (Enterprise being one) MAY rent to you if you have had your driving privilege or full license restored.
Ride Share Company Driver - Hundreds of thousands of people work part-time or full-time for ride share businesses. Neither Uber nor Lyft and the other major ride sharing platforms have jobs available until 6 to 8 years following a conviction of a DUI first offense. Most will categorically deny a person with any 2nd offense DUI in your lifetime.
Home Loans and Other Borrowing - Expect to be denied the lowest rates on borrowing for loans. Credit reporting agencies now have access to everything except your underwear size, and will be aware of public records for a conviction for DUI in MS.
Life Insurance After DUI - Life insurance companies have a system for "rating" an applicant. Your life insurance rates are not merely targeted to blood pressure, weight and chronic diseases like diabetes. Beyond your medical exam, life insurance coverage also investigates your habits and lifestyle. So, if you add "skydiving" or piloting a single engine plane, expect super high rates, if they will insure you at all. The same treatment is likely for anyone with a second offense DUI or (God forbid) a third DUI conviction.
Commercial Motor Vehicle (CMV) Driver Loss of Driving Privileges - To qualify to go to driving school for your CDL, which can be FREE these days, you cannot have a DUI on your record for a certain number of years. Plus, one DWI-DUI is the maximum for CDL operators. A 2nd DUI offense carries a 52-year CDL suspension with an opportunity to apply for a hardship reinstatement after waiting 10 years. For a person with limited formal education, almost none can resume their normal life after DUI, due to the total loss of or greatly diminished income.
Jail time - In Mississippi, jail time for a second DUI (or subsequent) can derail job opportunities. Why is that? Studies have shown that most people sentenced to incarceration for 17 days or more never fully recover. This applies to keeping their family intact, working and being able to advance in the United States like their peers with no such jail time.
Plus you might ask, "How long do you go to jail for a 4th DUI?" A DUI 4th offense in your lifetime carries up to 10 years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine.
The actual costs of Court, Probation, Ignition Interlock, and MASE (Mississippi Alcohol Safety Education) - fines, surcharges, probation supervision fees, random testing costs and license reinstatement fees run into the thousands of dollars. Plus, you have not even calculated the DUI attorney and his or her legal fees and expenses.
Even for a person with a low-level job that does not entail corporate oversight and accountability can expect their 10-year cost to exceed $25,000 or more. For people in high-level corporate positions, or for those in elected or government positions, the income losses and lost opportunity costs during the next decade can run in the millions.
Call today at 800-360-3847 for a FREE consultation with a PARTNER of our law firm. With nearly 90 collective years and thousands of criminal defense cases under our belt, you need to find a way OUT OF THIS mess if that is possible. Vic Carmody, Keven Stewart and Lance Mixon wrote the book on DUI laws in Mississippi, so why not take advantage of a FREE lawyer consultation?