It is no secret that financial disincentives have assumed a primary role in crime deterrence, especially in regards to driving under the influence and related crimes. But many fail to realize the enormity of the financial impact a DUI conviction may have. In Mississippi, one will not only pay fines up to $1,500 (for a misdemeanor) or $5,000 (for a felony), but they must also pay to attend the Mississippi Alcohol Safety Education Program (MASEP), maintain high-risk auto liability insurance, and possibly the installation of an ignition interlock device. Moreover, there are many variable costs, such as time off of work or loss of a job, loss of driving privileges, alternative transportation, licensing fees, court costs, and attorney fees. Altogether, the average cost of a first offense DUI conviction in Mississippi may be as high as $17,000.
But as 52-year-old Charles Scrimpshire of Pass Christian, Mississippi found out, the penalty for DUI can be far more severe than any financial cost. In December of 2012, Scrimpshire ran a red light while driving under the influence and caused a collision; as a result, Silas Cruthirds, a retired United States Air Force pilot, is now paralyzed. And last week, Scrimpshire pleaded guilty to the felony charge of aggravated DUI.
Under the aggravated DUI statute, Mississippi Code Annotated section 63-11-30(5), the the sentencing range is 5 to 25 years. But Judge John Gargiulo of the Harrison County Circuit Court wavered little in the sentencing. Scrimpshire was sentenced to the maximum of 25 years, with 5 years suspended in lieu of supervised probation.
So potential DUI offenders should keep in mind that the costs of a DUI conviction can be tremendous. Not only could it cost thousands of dollars, but it could also cost you 25 years of freedom. And should they keep these deterrents in mind, they may avoid such situations. However, when one does end up charged with DUI, there should be no question of whether they can afford an attorney; with the ever-increasing penalties for DUI offenses, how could one not afford to hire an attorney?
For more information on DUI law and defense, as well as any related matters, please visit our website at http://www.mississippidui.com/