DUI Attorneys in Bay St. Louis
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You’re sure you’re driving safely, focusing carefully on the lane markings ahead of you and obeying the speed limit. It’s not until you see the red and blue lights behind you that you stop to think: how many drinks did you have? The next thing you know you’re sitting in the Corrections Department on Main Street.
Driving while under the influence in Bay St. Louis is a serious crime, and a conviction could change your life in a multitude of ways. It is crucial to take immediate action and reach out to a Bay St. Louis DUI defense lawyer. Your future and freedom depend on it. Call Holcomb & Associates at 228-432-6652 to set up a free consultation now.
Why You Must Have a DUI Attorney After an Arrest
A DUI arrest may very well be one of the most frightening things you have ever gone through. Because of this, it’s easy to make careless mistakes that could devastate your case and make it very easy to prosecute you.
To start, it matters how you handle your traffic stop. Police officers can be very friendly during these stops, asking you where you’ve been, how much you’ve had to drink, and other questions designed to gauge your level of intoxication. Too many people give them far too much information, making it very easy for them to arrest you.
Avoid the urge to “just explain yourself” in the belief that doing so will make the problem go away. Anything you tell the police will be used against you, so you must be polite without handing them a case against you. With the odds stacked against you from the start, an attorney is non-negotiable.
Additionally, you can expect the prosecutor in your case to come down hard on you. Drunk driving is widely viewed as a social epidemic, and prosecutors often like to make examples of those who are caught. When you appear for your court date at the Hancock County Court House, you can expect to see a hard-hitting case that calls for your conviction. Your odds of talking your way out of that are slim to none.
On the other hand, a DUI attorney in Bay St. Louis knows exactly what this process is like. At Holcomb & Russell, we’ve helped many good people who have just made a mistake, as well as those who have unfairly gotten caught up in unwarranted arrests. There are many different avenues available to you as you proceed, and with the help of our team, you can find options that help you protect your future.
Penalties for Driving Under the Influence in Mississippi
Penalties start off fairly light for first-time offenders and quickly increase in severity with subsequent convictions. Your first DUI conviction in Mississippi could lead to a fine of $250 to $1000, up to 48 hours in jail, or both. On top of that, you may have to go to a victim impact panel. You should also expect to attend the Mississippi Alcohol Safety Education Program. First-time offenders could lose their licenses for up to one year.
Upon your second offense, you may be sentenced to between five days and six months in jail. You will also face a fine as high as $1,500. Community service is also required.
The third offense is a felony and may lead to up to five years of incarceration, a fine as high as $5,000, and a five-year license suspension.
The standards are higher for commercial drivers. While a BAC of .08 is considered intoxication for the average driver, commercial drivers cannot have a BAC higher than .04.
Underage Drinking and Driving
In addition to stiffening its penalties for impaired drivers overall, Mississippi has increased the penalties for those caught drinking and driving below the age of 21. The policy, known as “Zero Tolerance for Minors,” sets the limit at a .02 BAC. Those who have a BAC between .02 and .08 will lose their license for 90 days and be fined $250. They are required to attend the Mississippi Alcohol Safety Education Program and possibly a victim impact panel. The penalties increase with each subsequent conviction.
These penalties only apply for a BAC lower than .08. Someone younger than 21 with a BAC of .08 or higher will be subject to the same penalties as adults.
Possible Defenses Against DUI Charges
Once we take a look at your case, we’ll start considering different options for your defense. Options include:
• Unclear field sobriety test results: Field sobriety tests are notoriously unreliable. People perform poorly on them for a variety of reasons beyond intoxication, from nervousness to general clumsiness. If these results are the evidence used in your charges, the prosecutor may have a weak case.
• Inaccurate breath test: Breath test machines must be regularly inspected, maintained, and calibrated for accurate results. If the machine you used was not working properly, the results it produced may not be reliable.
• Legality of the traffic stop: Police officers must have a valid reason for performing a traffic stop. If they don’t, your entire traffic stop may have been unwarranted.
• Lack of intoxication: There are many conditions with symptoms that mimic intoxication. If you were not under the influence of alcohol at the time of your traffic stop, this is a viable defense.
There may be other options that work for your case. For example, non-adjudication is an option provided to first-time offenders who meet certain requirements. If the driver fulfills these requirements, they do not get a DUI conviction on their record. If they re-offend, the non-adjudication will be considered a prior DUI for purposes of the new case.
Reach Out to Holcomb & Associates Now
Don’t let a DUI conviction take away everything you have worked so hard for. Find out how we can help you fight your charges and get a fresh start. Call our team at 228-432-6652 or schedule your free consultation online.