The Cost of DUI in the Magnolia State
Jackson, Biloxi, Hattiesburg, Gulfport, Tupelo, and every other city and town in the state of Mississippi have the same laws when it comes to drinking and driving – those who are found to have a BAC (blood alcohol content) of 0.08 or higher will be charged with Driving Under the Influence (DUI). The penalties for this crime are serious and the financial burdens any individuals will face could derail their entire lives. Before getting behind the wheel after drinking, it is important to know the real cost of DUI.
Penalties for First Time DUI Offenders in Mississippi
There are some common penalties for Mississippi DUI that almost all states in the country share. All states will generally use jail time, a license suspension, and fines as forms of punishment for those who are convicted of drinking and driving. In Mississippi, first time offenders will also face these penalties, which will usually include:
- Up to 48 Hours in Jail
- $250 to $1,000 Fine
- License Suspension of 90 Days
The state of Mississippi currently has a lookback period of 5 years, which will play an important role in the penalties an individual will face. Should someone have a previous DUI conviction within the last 5 years, their current charge will be considered a second offense. Repeat offenders will have longer jail sentences, longer license suspensions, and higher fines they will be responsible for – second offenders of DUI in Mississippi will face fines between $600 and $1,500 and third time offenders will face fines for their crime between $2,000 and $5,000.
Initial Costs of DUI in the State of Mississippi
Many individuals do not know a DUI will cost them before they are even formally charged with the crime. When someone is pulled over and arrested for DUI, their vehicle will be towed to the local impound lot, given the officer does not allow someone else to take the car away. Once the individual is ready to have the car released from impound, they will need to pay the towing and storage fees in order to get the car back – these fees can add up to $1,000 or more depending on the circumstances.
In most cases, the individual will be transported to the jail, processed, charged, and released on their own recognizance. But, should there be aggravating circumstances surrounding their case, such as a minor child being present, having caused an accident, or injuring someone, the officers may decide to have the offender held in jail. Usually, in order for them to be released, they will need to pay bail, which could cost anywhere from $500 to $50,000 depending on the situation. If the individual does not have that money on their own, a bail bondsman may be hired to help get them released from jail.
After being released from jail and formally charged with Driving Under the Influence, the offender will likely seek the help of a DUI attorney to help try their case in court. When looking for legal representation, the individual should seek someone who is knowledgeable and has a good reputation of trying DUI cases in Mississippi. While all law firms and independent lawyers will have different fees for their services, individuals should expect to pay between $1,500 and $10,000 for a good attorney.
Costs of DUI After Conviction in Mississippi
After the trial has concluded and the offender is found guilty of Driving Under the Influence, her or she will then be responsible for paying the fines and penalties assigned as punishment. Again, first time offenders in the state of Mississippi will have to pay a fine between $250 and $1,000 depending on the severity of the incident. It is important to note that, even though all states will usually fine DUI offenders, the amount of those fines will vary from one state to the next.
Additionally, the amount of the fine will increase with the number of previous offenses the individual has during that particular state’s lookback period.
Increased Cost for Car Insurance in Mississippi
While many individuals may believe the fines they have to pay will be their last out of pocket cost for DUI, they often do not take into consideration their car insurance rates will increase as well. Once the incident is reported to their insurance company, the provider will undoubtedly increase rates in order to cover the higher risk they pose to making a claim due to drinking and driving. While the increase in cost is unavoidable, all car insurance providers will have a different calculation for how much they raise the individual’s rates, and those changes also differ between states.
Mississippi car insurance providers are among the toughest when it comes to punishing those who have been convicted of drinking and driving and the state in general has less affordable car insurance rates to begin with when compared to other states in the country. Again, all insurance agencies will handle rate increases differently, but someone who is convicted of DUI can expect their insurance rate to increase by about 130 percent, which will add an average of $160 to their monthly payment.
Protecting Yourself from the Financial Repercussions of DUI
Drinking and driving is a very serious action, for both an individual’s wallet as well as their life. When all is said and done, those who have been convicted of Driving Under the Influence could expect to pay anywhere up to $40,000 for getting behind the wheel intoxicated. Not only does drinking and driving jeopardize someone’s financial future, it can also endanger their life and the lives of those around them. The best way to avoid the cost of DUI is to not to drink and drive – always appoint a sober driver.
Taryn J. White is a legal research specialist and DUI law news reporter. Her current accomplishments include helping those facing any driving under the influence arrest charges, get free online assistance in learning how to fight a DUI case for the best possible outcome.