Two days after a Mississippi woman posted bond on a fourth-offense DUI arrest, she caused a five car crash, killing two, due to drunk driving. This may seem shocking, because it is. How in the world could a person who was arrested on her fourth account of driving while intoxicated be allowed to drive two days later? Simple: She wasn’t supposed to be driving, therefore she was driving illegally.
After a third DUI offense:
“A person convicted of a fourth or subsequent offense is ineligible to exercise the privilege to operate a motor vehicle that is not equipped with an ignition-interlock device for ten (10) years.”
In addition, a fourth DUI charge is an automatic felony. Had the woman not died in the accident, she was looking at a felony charge, up to $10,000 in fines, a suspended license and more. What her story does cause those who are not closely acquainted with Mississippi bond laws to wonder is how she was so easily let out of jail.
The state of Mississippi offer four main ways to get out of jail:
- Release on Recognizance
- Also known as ROR, this is like the honor system of getting out of jail. ROR basically goes off the agreement and trust that the defendant will return and appear for all future court dates as required. If there is any skepticism, then the court may set conditions on the ROR release such as limiting the places the defendant may go or who the defendant may see. When available, this is the best way to go.
- Cash Bond
- Cash bonds are the simplest ways to be released. If a defendant has enough cash on them, or can quickly receive the money from a co-signer, then they are free to go, no questions asked. The cash bond is returned, minus all court fees and costs, once their hearing is completed.
- Surety Bond
- These are the most common types of bonds, especially when it comes to DUI charges since their bail price can be upward of $10,000. Surety bonds are an agreement between three parties – the defendant, a bail bond agent and the court. A defendant may be bailed out of jail with the help of a bail bond agent based on the agreement that they will show up in court as well as pay a percentage of their bail. For example, if Bob needs $5,000 in bail and he contacts a bail bond agent to assist him, they may agree to pay it with a 5% premium. This means that once Bob shows up for his required court date, the court returns the $5,000 to the bail bond agent and Bob pays the bail bond agent $250.
- Property Bond
- This is the most time consuming way to post bond. The defendant or a co-signer may use any property located in the state of Mississippi with paperwork that ensures ownership and equity in the property of at least $20,000 greater than the amount of the bail. The court is granted a lien on the property and can foreclose if the defendant does not show up for their required court hearings.
Now, with a little background knowledge, we can better assess how this woman was able to leave and drive two days later. She was on her fourth DUI charge, which automatically makes it a felony. For felonies, a defendant is only allowed to post bail in cash, with property or by using a surety bond. Cash is the preferred method, by law. With a fee that would have been between $3,000 and $10,000, it may have been unlikely that cash was used. It is still possible, though. Also, just because she was bailed out of jail does not mean that she was allowed to drive until her court date. She was on a fourth DUI charge, which prevents her from driving without an IID for ten full years. Had she walked out of the accident alive, she would be facing even more, major, penalties and fines for her wrongdoing and ultimate neglect of the law.
When posting bond, regardless of the type, it is so important to show up for your court hearings. If neglected, you could face higher fines, longer jail time and further worsened consequences of your sentence. When dealing with DUI charges, especially multiple charges, it is best to have a strong attorney by your side. If you have a felony charge on your hands, it is of utmost importance to know your rights and how best to navigate your way to freedom. If a criminal investigation is necessary, you will want to have all the pertinent information available to you at a moment’s notice.
If you are dealing with a multiple DUI case in Hattiesburg or the surrounding area, contact Braddock Law for the best DUI attorneys in Mississippi. We will strongly represent your case using all of the facts of your situation with knowledge of the law to back you up. The attorneys at Braddock Law will aggressively fight for your rights and will never back down from protecting you and your family.