Mississippi DUI Charges: Which State Courts Are They Filed In?
I am often asked by folks unfamiliar with the subject various questions regarding which court one must go to if charged with a DUI in Mississippi. Those are fair questions (usually), as the Mississippi state court system consists of a myriad of trial and appellate courts for civil, criminal, and family law cases. So, if you are indeed accused of a DUI charge in Mississippi, which of the various trial courts could possibly be the one that you will be required to appear in? Before answering that question, and because we are now in the muggy month of July here in the Magnolia Sate, let’s first consider this:
Most of the new laws and amendments to laws in Mississippi recently took effect on July 1, 2016. Others will take effect on October 1, 2016. Mississippi enacted three major bills consisting of numerous charges to DUI laws for this year: (1) House Bill 1361, which clarifies which law enforcement authorities may administer Intoxilyzer 8000 tests, (2) Senate Bill 2777, titled the “DUI Modernization and Technology Act,” and (3) Senate Bill 2778, titled the “DUI Transparency Act.” These new laws will be discussed in later posts on this blog. This post deals, in part, with whether the Mississippi Legislature created any new courts in which DUI charges may be filed, or appealed to. For 2016, the answer is no.
In Mississippi, DUI cases may be originally filed in one of the following state trial courts: justice court, municipal court, or circuit court. Additionally, appeals from misdemeanor DUI convictions in justice and municipal courts are taken to county courts in the twenty-one (21) counties that have county courts. In all other counties, these types of appeals are taken to the circuit courts of the respective counties. Any misdemeanor DUI appeal taken from a justice or municipal court is appealed for a trial de novo, or “new trial,” in the court of record.
For felony DUI charges, circuit courts have general criminal jurisdiction for prosecution based on indictments, and less commonly, bills of information. In some very limited circumstances, authority exists for transferring felony DUI cases from circuit courts to county courts, but never to justice or municipal courts.
For anyone charged with a DUI in any state court of Mississippi – whether it is a misdemeanor or a felony – he/she should consult with an experienced DUI defense attorney who is familiar with ALL of the courts noted above. The rules and procedures for successfully navigating a case through the DUI court system are complicated and serious. Here at Carmody, Stewart & Mixon, we have experience at all levels of court in defending our clients. The first consultation is always free.
Lance O. Mixon of Carmody, Stewart & Mixon
Carmody, Stewart & Mixon, P.A.
Attorneys at Law
781 Liberty Road
Flowood, MS 39232
Phone: (601) 948-4444
Fax: (601) 969-3850
 The following twenty-one (21) Mississippi counties have county courts: Adams; Bolivar; Coahoma; Desoto; Forrest; Harrison; Hinds; Jackson; Jones; Lamar; Lauderdale; Lee; Leflore; Lowndes; Madison; Pearl River; Pike; Rankin; Warren; Washington; and Yazoo.