If you have been arrested for drunk driving in the state of Mississippi this can initiate two separate cases against you, one civil and one criminal. The civil case is initiated by the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) if you have either refused to submit to a chemical test (when asked to do so by Mississippi law enforcement) or whether you submitted to the BAC test and failed with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) above the legal limit of 0.08%.
If you refuse to take the BAC test or you take the (BAC) test and fail your license can be suspended from 90 days up to one year.
Challenging the Mississippi License Suspension
If your Mississippi license has been suspended by the DMV you will have 10 days to file a Test Refusal Petition after receiving a Notice of Intent to Suspend your license. After you are arrested the arresting officer will confiscate your license and issue you a temporary license which will allow you to drive for forty-five days.
After your license has been suspended you may want to contact a DUI lawyer to discuss whether you should file a request for a Test Refusal Petition hearing. If you win at your hearing your license will be returned to you. If you lose the suspension will be enforced. Keep in mind, this suspension is separate from any criminal penalties you might face if you are convicted of a DUI.
Can I get a hardship license after a Mississippi DUI arrest?
If you lose at the hearing you may request a hardship license if you are a first time offender or if you did not refuse to take the BAC test. Mississippi DUI laws allow the Circuit Court in the county where the conviction occurred or the Circuit Court where you reside to reduce the suspension or issue a hardship if they determine that not being able to drive could be detrimental to you. One catch, however, is that the courts will not take any action on your suspension or issue a hardship license until at least 30 days have elapsed on your suspension.
After 30 days if you did not refuse the test or this is your first DUI, you may request a hardship license if you can prove that the inability to drive would interfere with your medical care, education or employment. A $150 fee must be paid and under some conditions the DMV may request information from your school, doctor or employer.
Because the need for the hardship must be evidenced by “clear and convincing proof” it may be necessary to talk to a DUI lawyer about how to convince the court, through independent documentation, that you need to be able to drive.
Test Refusals after a Mississippi DUI arrest
We recently had a driver on our forum ask about getting a hardship license after a DUI test refusal. Unfortunately, a DUI test refusal will make it impossible to get a hardship license. If you refused the BAC test the best chance to retain your license is to talk to a DUI lawyer and immediately file for a test refusal hearing.
If you hire a DUI lawyer they can challenge whether the officer had probable cause to make the DUI arrest, whether they gave you information about the penalties you might face for a test refusal, whether you actually refused the test, and whether you were actually arrested.
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