Following the death of two teens in a drunk driving accident in Marshall County last year, Mississippi Senator, David Parker began searching for loopholes in the state’s DUI laws. Every state is different, but in Mississippi, Parker found that it is simple to move first offense DUI’s through the court system, because consequence is usually a fine.
The driver of the vehicle who hit the two teens had a record of seven first-offense DUI’s. According to Parker, that driver should never have been allowed on the road. Under Mississippi law, first-offense DUI is punishable by fine, while a second-offense could mean up to one year in jail, and because there is a federal statute upholding that penalty, the driver is entitled to a jury trial.
In doing his research, Parker has drafted up two new bills. The DUI Transparency Act would lower the penalty time for 2nd DUI offenses, making the consequence six months of jail time, which would alleviate the need for a jury trial. A 3rd DUI offense would be classified as a felony carrying a penalty of up to 3 years in prison. In addition, judges would have the authority to require random drug tests from those under suspicion. The measure also includes a $100 fine on court clerks who fail to report DUI convictions.
Parker’s second Senate bill proposes creating a committee to monitor and encourage first offense DUI’s and ensures that all cases are properly entered into the correct database. The driver in the Marshall County case who killed two teens while under the influence had seven prior DUI convictions, four of which were never recorded.
DUI drivers risk the lives of everyone, including themselves. Protect yourself and others by avoiding DUI, and knowing what your state’s legislation says about DUI. Whether it’s first offense or seventh offense, DUI is illegal and inflicts danger on every driver and passenger on the road. Those who pose an added threat to the freeway should be recorded, and multiple DUI convictions should not be slipping through the cracks of any state or county.