What Are the Penalties for a DUI in Tennessee?

If you were arrested for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol in Tennessee, you could face serious repercussions. However, the way in which you handle your situation from here forward will determine how severe the repercussions will be.

In the state of Tennessee, if an officer has cause to believe you have been driving while drunk, you could be arrested on DUI charges. If convicted, these charges could lead to serious consequences, such as costly fines, jail time, driver’s license suspension, and more.

Were you arrested? Make sure you know what you are up against and discover the potential penalties for a DUI conviction in Tennessee.

First Offense

The consequences for a DUI conviction will vary based on the nature of the DUI arrest and the driver’s criminal history. If, for example, this is the driver’s first DUI offense, the consequences may include a fine of up to $2,500, driver’s license suspension for 1 year, and up to 11 months and 29 days in jail.

Subsequent Offenses

Drivers who have already been convicted of a DUI may face much more serious consequences than first offenders. For a second DUI offense, the driver may face more than $3,000 in fines, mandatory forfeiture of their vehicle, and a 2-year license revocation. For a third DUI offense, the fines may reach up to $10,000 and the driver’s license could be suspended for up to 6 years. For a fourth DUI offense, or subsequent offenses, the driver may face felony charges, $15,000 in fines, mandatory forfeiture of their vehicle, and driver’s license suspension for 8 years.

Implied Consent

Tennessee is an “implied consent” state. This means that refusing to submit to a chemical test could result in a suspended driver license. Drivers suspected of driving under the influence will be asked to submit to a chemical test to determine their blood alcohol concentration or if other substances are in their blood stream. If a driver refuses to submit to the chemical test, his driver license can be suspended for up to 5 years. The duration of the license suspension depends on the nature of the DUI incident and will be more sever if anyone was injured by the driver.

Underage DUI

When an underage driver is arrested on suspicion of DUI, he or she could face the same consequences as any other first-time offender. However, if the driver is under the legal drinking age, he or she could be arrested for DUI if they have any trace of alcohol in their system, even if their BAC (blood alcohol concentration) is below the legal limit.

Vehicular Assault

Any DUI charge can result in serious penalties, but the consequences can be especially steep if anyone was injured by the driver’s actions. If, for example, a drunk driver injures another person, he or she could face vehicular assault charges, which are classified as a Class D felony and could result in between 2-12 years in prison. Or, if the DUI crash resulted in any fatalities, the intoxicated driver could face vehicular homicide charges, which is a Class B felony and can result in a 10-year license revocation and up to 30 years in prison.

Drivers can also face child endangerment charges if the person injured in the crash was under 18 years old, or if there was a child passenger in their vehicle.

If you are facing DUI charges, make sure you take immediate action to defend your rights and protect your future.

To get started today, contact Patton | Pittman Attorneys and ask for a free consultation.

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