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Military members face serious consequences for DUI offenses

In any circumstances, a driving under the influence (DUI) charge can carry a host of negative consequences. Jail time can keep you from showing up to work. Even employers who might ignore your missed work may have policies about employees getting convicted of crimes. Many people lose their jobs over criminal convictions. If your career is in the United States Military, the potential consequences are even more severe.

The military courts may charge you with a DUI as a result of your civilian charges. In some cases, the two courts work together to determine punishment. In other cases, you could face separate charges and punishments from the military courts after a civilian DUI conviction or guilty plea. Because of the potential for punishment, it's important that you take a proactive stance to defend yourself against DUI charges.

Civilian penalties for a DUI can be harsh

In Mississippi, driving a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol content of 0.08 percent or higher is against the law. In addition to any penalties assigned by the military, you will face serious civilian penalties. First offenses result in up to 48 hours in jail, a fine of between $250 and $1,000 and a 90-day suspension of your drivers license.

If you have a previous DUI conviction within the last five years, the penalties increase. A second offense carries between five days and a year in jail, a fine of between $600 and $1,500 and loss of driving privileges for two years. Third offenses can result in between one and five years in jail, a fine of up to $5,000 and loss of licensing for five years.

Second or third offenses often also result in a requirement to install an ignition interlock device in your car when you get your license back. Basically, you'll have to pay for a machine to get installed in your vehicle that requires a breath test every time you start the car. Not only is this expensive, it is also embarrassing in social situations.

Refusing to take a breath test can cause issues

You may hope to avoid the consequences associated with a DUI by refusing to take a roadside sobriety test or breath test. It's important to note that the act of refusing these tests is also a crime. All those who drive on public roads in Mississippi give implied consent to sobriety testing, including breath tests. Simply refusing a test won't stop law enforcement from arresting you or charging you with a crime.

The first time you refuse a test, your license will get suspended for 90 days. Your refusal can also get used against you in court if you are facing charges for a DUI as well. While pushing back against DUI charges can help protect your future, refusing a breath test isn't the way to do it.

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