Category Archives: DUI Other Substance

Jackson, Mississippi DUI Lawyer Explains Driving Under the Influence of Illegal Drugs

Mississippi DUI law provides that a person may be charged with driving under the influence of illegal drugs.  Specifically, the Mississippi DUI statute states “it is unlawful for any person to drive or otherwise operate a vehicle within this state who…is under the influence of any drug or controlled substance, the possession of which is unlawful under the Mississippi Controlled Substances Law….”

The State can show that a person is under the influence of a controlled substance by proof of a positive blood or urine test.  Regardless of whether the police obtain a blood or urine test, prosecutors typically try to prove that a person is under the influence under this section by showing that the person’s driving was erratic, and/or that his behavior was consistent with being under the influence of a controlled substance.  The presence of a controlled substance, such as marijuana, within the vehicle may also be used as additional evidence to prove the driver was under the influence (although the mere presence of a controlled substance, by itself, would likely not support a DUI conviction).

If you’ve been charged with DUI, please contact Mississippi DUI Lawyer Curt Crowley at 601.944.1984 for a free case evaluation.  For more information, please visit our Mississippi DUI Lawyer website.

Mississippi DUI Lawyer: Calhoun County Man Convicted of DUI Death in Federal Court

The Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal is reporting that Wendell Blount of Calhoun County has been found guilty of DUI resulting in death in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Mississippi.  The Government alleged that Blount was driving an SUV on the Natchez Trace Parkway, while impaired by prescription morpheine.  As a result of this impairment, the Government charged that Blount struck and killed Dutch cyclist Esther Hageman.  According to federal prosecutors, Blount’s impairment was evidenced from the fact it took him 680 feet to stop his vehicle after he struck the cyclist.

Felony DUI cases are rarely seen in federal court in Mississippi.  However, this case was handled in federal court because the Natchez Trace Parkway is federal property.  Pursuant to 18 U.S.C. Section 13, federal property is subject to the criminal statutes in the State where the property is located.  This law is commonly referred to as the Assimilative Crimes Act. 

Because this accident occurred in Mississippi, the Assimilative Crimes Act required that Mississippi DUI law be applied to this case, even though the case was tried in federal court.  Blount was effectively charged with DUI under the Mississippi DUI-other substance statute, resulting in death.  The Government also charged Blount with involuntary manslaughter under 18 U.S.C. Section 1112 (although it appears the district judge may dismiss one of the two counts on double jeopardy grounds). 

As a result of this conviction, Blount now faces decades in federal prison.

No matter where you are in Mississippi, DUI is serious business.  If you have questions about DUI in federal or state court, please contact Mississippi DUI Lawyer Curt Crowley at 601.944.1984.

Mississippi DUI Lawyer Explains Charge of Driving Under The Influence of a Substance Other than Alcohol

Mississippi DUI law provides that a person may be charged with driving under the influence (DUI) of a substance other than alcohol.  This is referred to as “DUI Other.”

Mississippi Code Section 63-11-30(1)(b) states “it is unlawful for any person to drive or otherwise operate a vehicle within this state who…is under the influence of any…substance [other than alcohol] which has impaired such person’s ability to operate a motor vehicle.”

A driver can be charged with a Mississippi DUI under this statute if he is under the influence of any substance that impairs his ability to operate a vehicle.  These substances include prescription medication, such as Xanax and Hydrocodone.  Further, a person can be convicted under the statute if he has taken another substance, combines it with alcohol, and the combination of alcohol and the other substance results in impairment of his ability to operate a vehicle.  This is true even if the alcohol or other substance, by itself, would not have resulted in impairment or intoxication.

To prove impairment under this section of Mississippi DUI law, the State usually attempts to show that the defendant’s driving and/or physical condition was consistent with those of someone who is under the influence.  Mississippi courts have ruled that impairment in DUI-other substance cases may be proven by the following:

(a) Driver’s vehicle had run off the road; 

(b) Driver was leaning on the vehicle, and was unsteady on his feet;

(c) Driver had bloodshot eyes and had the odor of alcohol on his breath;

(d) Driver had a blood alcohol concentration of .028 (well below the limit for DUI-alcohol); and

(e) Driver admitted to taking three (3) Xanax tablets in the past 24 hours.

Under these facts, the Court held that this was sufficient to prove the driver guilty of DUI-other substance in Mississippi.  The other substance was Xanax.  The Xanax, combined with a small amout of alcohol, resulted in the driver’s impairment.  See Turner v. State, 910 So.2d 598 (Miss.App. 2005).

If you’ve been charged with DUI-other substance in Mississippi, please call Jackson, MS DUI lawyer Curt Crowley at 601.944.1984 for a free case evaluation.

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