Can I Appeal To Get My License Back After Refusing a Breathalyzer?
How to appeal your suspension at a test refusal hearing in MississippiBy S.M. Oliva | Last updated on January 19, 2023
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How “Implied Consent” Works in MississippiLike many states, Mississippi has an implied consent law that applies to anyone who operates a motor vehicle on the state’s public roads. When a police officer has “reasonable grounds and probable cause” to suspect a driver of driving under the influence, the driver is presumed to give consent to a “blood, breath, or urine test.” By law, the test cannot be administered within the first 15 minutes after the driver has taken any food or drink. So what happens if an officer asks you to a take a chemical test and you refuse? Basically, your driver’s license will be automatically suspended. Driving is a privilege granted by the state. You do not have to be charged or convicted of criminal DUI in order to trigger a refusal suspension. Under Mississippi Code, Section 63-11-5, refusal under the implied consent law carries a mandatory 90-day license suspension if you have no prior DUI convictions. If you do have a prior conviction, the suspension will last a full year. The arresting officer must inform you of these consequences at the time he or she requests the blood test, breath test, or urine test.
The Review & Appeal Process for Breathalyzer RefusalIf you refuse a chemical test, the officer will take your driver’s license immediately and give you a receipt that allows you to continue driving temporarily while your case is under review. The officer will then make a formal report to the Mississippi Department of Public Safety, which has jurisdiction over administrative driver’s license suspensions. Again, it is important to note an administrative suspension is separate from any consequences you may face if later convicted of DUI. The Department only needs to find there was “probable cause” for the arresting officer to suspect DUI, that the officer requested a chemical test and you refused, and that you received proper notice that your license would be suspended as a consequence of said refusal. If the Department upholds the suspension, it will send you a written notice to that effect. Your suspension, whether for 90 days or 1 year, will begin 30 days after the notice is issued. But within 10 days of the Department’s decision, you have the right to file an appeal with your local circuit court. A judge will then hold a hearing, without a jury, at which time you can present evidence and cross-examine the arresting officer. You cannot appeal to the circuit court, however, if your license is suspended as the result of a criminal DUI conviction. If you’d like assistance, consult with a reputable DUI attorney. If you’d like more general information about this area of the law, see our DUI/DWI law overview.
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