What Are the Penalties for a DUI in Tennessee?

The state of Tennessee prohibits motorists from operating a vehicle if they:

  1. have a blood alcohol content (BAC) of at least .08%; or
  2. are under the influence of any intoxicant, marijuana, controlled substance, drug, or substance that affects the central nervous system.

To be under the influence of a substance is to be impaired to the point of inability to safely operate a motor vehicle.

If you are stopped by law enforcement and found to be under the influence of a substance, the legal consequences can be severe. Even if it is your first offense, the state of Tennessee takes a DUI charge very seriously.

Implied Consent Law

Tennessee has an implied consent law; if a driver refuses to consent to a chemical sobriety test, their license can be automatically revoked for at least 1 full year. If the driver refuses a chemical test after an accident that resulted in injury to another, their license can be revoked for 2 years (5 years if the crash resulted in someone’s death).

1st Offense DUI

There are 4 degrees of severity to a DUI conviction, depending on how many times a person has committed this offense in the past.

A 1st offense DUI conviction is a misdemeanor resulting in the following penalties:

  1. minimum of 48 hours and a maximum of 11 months in a county jail. If a person’s BAC was .20% or more, they will spend a minimum of 7 days in jail;
  2. fine between $350 and $1,500, plus any associated court costs. If there was property damage or injuries, the person will be required to pay restitution;
  3. Mandatory attendance at a state-approved DUI class;
  4. installation of an ignition interlock device that will monitor intoxication level before operating the vehicle; and
  5. revocation of a person’s driver’s license for 1 year. A person may be eligible to receive a restricted license if a judge sees fit.

2nd Offense DUI

A 2nd offense DUI conviction is a misdemeanor resulting in the following penalties:

  1. minimum of 45 days and maximum of 11 months in a county jail;
  2. fine between $600 and $3,500, plus any associated court costs. If there was property damage or injuries, the person will be required to pay restitution;
  3. mandatory attendance at a state-approved DUI class;
  4. possible vehicle seizure and forfeit to the state;
  5. installation of an ignition interlock device that will monitor intoxication level before operating the vehicle; and
  6. revocation of a person’s driver’s license for 2 years. A judge may decide to revoke the license for 1 year, depending on the situation.

3rd Offense DUI

A 3rd offense DUI conviction is a misdemeanor resulting in the following penalties:

  1. minimum of 120 days and maximum of 11 months in a county jail;
  2. fine between $1,100 and $10,000, plus any associated court costs. If there was property damage or injuries, the person will be required to pay restitution;
  3. mandatory attendance at a state-approved DUI class;
  4. possible vehicle seizure and forfeit to the state;
  5. installation of an ignition interlock device that will monitor intoxication level before operation of the vehicle; and
  6. revocation of a person’s driver’s license for 3 to 10 years. If a person has committed a DUI for a third time, they are not eligible for a restricted license.

4th Offense DUI

A 4th offense DUI conviction is a misdemeanor resulting in the following penalties:

  1. 1-year sentence in a county jail. They must stay in jail for a minimum of 150 consecutive days;
  2. fine between $3,000 and $15,000, plus any associated court costs. If there was property damage or injuries, the person will be required to pay restitution;
  3. mandatory attendance at a state-approved DUI class;
  4. possible vehicle seizure and forfeit to the state;
  5. installation of an ignition interlock device that will monitor intoxication level before operation of the vehicle; and
  6. revocation of a person’s driver’s license for a minimum of 5 years. If a person has committed a DUI for a fourth time or more, they are not eligible for a restricted license.

Contact Patton | Pittman Attorneys

If you have been arrested for a DUI, reach out to our law firm today. Our attorneys have a combined total of 100 years of legal experience. We will do everything we can to help you receive a light sentence.

Call our firm today at (931) 361-4477 or contact us online for a FREE case evaluation.

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