Last year we wrote this blog about some of last year’s changes to Mississippi’s DUI law. This year,however, even more changes were included in Mississippi House Bill 412. The updates are numerous and will take effect on October 1, 2014.
Of all these changes, however, nonadjudication must be the most talked about. While called different things in various states, nonadjudication simply means that the guilty plea is withheld and the case is dismissed once the offender completes certain court-imposed conditions. In other words, it’s a form of pre-trial diversion.
Under the current version of § 63-11-30(14), nonadjudication was available only to persons under the age of 21. As of October 1, 2014, however, § 63-11-30(14) makes nonadjudication available to any first-time offender who did NOT refuse a breath test, unless the court provides written findings as to why the expunction should otherwise not be allowed. The statute also mandates certain conditions for nonadjudication, including but not limited to the following:
- Offender must pay the nonadjudication FEE, as well as all fines, penalties, and assessments that would have been imposed under a conviction;
- Attend and Complete an alcohol safety education program (MASEP);
- Install an ignition interlock on each vehicle the defendant operates, in addition to maintaining an ignition interlock restricted driver’s license for 120 days; and
- Have no violations of the ignition interlock device.
Once the conditions are all satisfied, your attorney will petition the court for a hearing in order to determine eligibility for nonadjudication. It is important to note that a person is only eligible for nonadjudication ONCE, so the Department of Public Safety will maintain a confidential registry of nonadjudications in order to determine non-eligibility in the future. It is critical, therefore, that you contact an attorney as soon as possible once you have been charged, so that they can most accurately advise you on the new laws and nonadjudication options that may be available to you.
For more information on Mississippi DUI law and defense, please visit our website: http://www.mississippidui.com.