If you have been accused of DUI in Mississippi and you refuse to submit to a urine, breath or blood test, the Department of Public Safety will try to automatically suspend your privilege to drive for 90 days to up to one year or suspend your license entirely. This will usually happen before any criminal Mississippi DUI trial and is automatically entered against you unless you take action as soon as possible after being accused.
You have a maximum of ten calendar days from the postmark of the letter regarding the intent to suspend. It is very important that you do not ignore this letter, otherwise, you could automatically lose your right to operate a vehicle and drive in Mississippi for the period specified in the notice. The temporary license that you receive when you first refuse a test is only valid for 45 days from the date of your arrest. This cannot be extended or renewed for any period of time. The test refusal hearing is one that you should have an experienced DUI defense attorney come with you to and will be managed by a circuit court or county court judge in the county in which you are arrested. There will be no jury present and the judge has the complete discretion to announce a decision at the end of the hearing.
The state bears the burden of proof to show that you are operating your vehicle under the influence of alcohol or other substances and that you refused to submit to a breath, blood or urine test. Although the burden of proof is not as high as in a criminal trial, it is still important to protect your right to drive if there has been a mistake. The state only has to prove their case by a preponderance of the evidence which in general terms means more likely than not. If the officer did not have probable cause to stop the vehicle, your criminal defense attorney can raise these concerns at that time and this can benefit you significantly going forward. The support of a lawyer is extremely important for your future and is a step you should take immediately.