Bill could make alcohol transport through dry counties legal

Published 7:00 am Tuesday, February 6, 2018

On January 31, the Mississippi House approved Bill 192 and sent it to the Senate for consideration. If approved by the Senate and signed by the Governor, the Bill would allow personal transportation of alcohol through dry counties within the state of Mississippi as long as the container remains unopened, and is being transported on a state or federal highway. If approved, this bill would take effect on July 1.

Pearl River County is currently a dry county, with the exception of Picayune and Poplarville, which both allow the purchase and possession of light wine and beer within the city limits. For residents outside each municipality, the possession of alcohol is still illegal.

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If passed, the Bill would not protect citizens who illegally possess alcohol within dry counties or protect them from transporting alcohol on county roads or city roads in entirely dry counties.

HB 192 only applies to travel along state or federal highways.

Pearl River County Sheriff David Allison said he has no problem with the new bill. Even if the bill is not passed, dealing with the transportation of alcohol is something “we’ve always used common sense on,” Allison said.

Rather than actively patrolling for and arresting citizens who possess alcohol, Allison said people are typically only arrested for possession of alcohol when another crime is being committed.

For example, if a person is caught drinking and driving then they will be charged for possession of alcohol in a dry county, as well as driving under the influence. Also, if deputies are called to an instance of domestic violence involving alcohol, or if a party gets out of hand and alcohol is in sight when deputies arrive, those involved will likely be charged with illegal possession of alcohol.

However, until the bill has officially passed, it is still possible to be arrested for transporting alcohol through this or any other dry county.