There are Harsh Penalties for DUI if You are Not a First-Time Offender
Driving under the influence, or DUI, is against the law in Tennessee. The laws against DUI include blood alcohol concentration limits, implied consent to testing, driver’s license revocations, and fines and jail time. Before you consider drinking and driving, it is important to know the law and what penalties you could face for breaking the law. If you have already found yourself being charged with a DUI, especially if it is not your first one, you need to speak to an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.
The blood alcohol level at which the state will presume that a driver is drunk is 0.08 in Tennessee. Having a BAC of 0.20 or higher can result in even higher penalties. The state of Tennessee has zero-tolerance for DUI offenders, which means that if a person less than 21 years of age (the legal drinking age) has a BAC of 0.02 while driving, that person can be charged with a DUI.
First Time Offenders: Tennessee has mandatory jail sentences for even first-time offenders who are charged with a DUI. Offenders will be held for a minimum of 48 hours in jail unless their BAC was 0.2 or more. In that situation, the minimum jail time is seven days. There are certain situations however, in which a DUI can result in up to 11 months and 29 days in jail as well as fines ranging from $350 to $1,500. First time offenders will likely have their driver’s license revoked for one year and be required to attend an alcohol and drug treatment program.
Second Time Offenders: Second DUIs have even stiffer penalties than first DUIs. The minimum jail time for a second DUI charge is 45 days but can be up to 11 months and 29 days. The mandatory fine will range between $600 and $3,500. Your vehicle may be confiscated, and if you do get it back, your license will be revoked for two years and after the two years is up, it will be restricted for use to go to school, work, and drug and alcohol treatment programs.
Third Time Offenders: A third DUI offense carries a penalty of at least 120 days in jail, but no more than 11 months and 29 days. The fine may be the minimum $1,100 or as high as $10,000. An offender’s driver’s license will be revoked for six to 10 years and there will be no possibility of having a restricted license for work.
Fourth Time Offenders: Fourth time DUI offenders and subsequent DUIs are considered felony charges in the state of Tennessee. Offenders will receive a minimum of 365 days in jail and a mandatory fine between $3,000 and $15,000. Their license will be revoked for eight years with no possibility of a restricted license for work.
In addition to the above penalties , the court may order restitution to be paid to any other individuals who were harmed as a result of the drinking and driving. Getting a driver’s license back after it has been revoked costs additional fees and there are often insurance penalties, as well.
If you are facing DUI charges, especially if you are a repeat offender, it is imperative that you have an experienced criminal defense attorney on your side. A good defense attorney may be able to reduce or eliminate some of the penalties associated with your charges. The attorneys at Burch & Lockhart have over 15 years of experience representing DUI offenders and can review your case to determine what options may be the best defense for your situation. Contact them today to schedule a consultation.