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DUI Penalties in Tennessee

Driving Under Influence in Tennessee

No matter what state it occurs, driving under the influence, or committing a DUI, represents an illegal act by the operator of a motor vehicle.

dui in tennessee

A DUI puts both the driver of the motor vehicle and others at significant risk. If a drunk driver causes an accident, it certainly can cause injury and even death, not to mention property damage.  As a result of what is at stake, states have DUI penalties to be harsh enough to deter that behavior. The penalties tend to be financially expensive and may include jail time. At a minimum, it results in a loss of driving privileges which often affects a person’s ability to get to their job.  

Common Penalties in Tennessee

Penalties for DUI offenses in the state of Tennessee get progressively more intense with each violation, with prison time and fine amounts steadily increasing with each subsequent conviction.

Regardless of the number of offenses, certain penalties can occur with each conviction.
Every DUI, even the very first offense, includes the possibilities of jail time, fines, restitution of damages to any victims (bodily harm, property damage, and mental distress may all be considered), the loss of driving privileges, and mandatory participation in an alcohol or drug treatment program.

Second offenses and up can also include the possible use of an ignition interlock device, or an IID. These devices work in tandem with restricted driver’s licenses, which can be granted to individuals convicted of a DUI that have lost access to their regular driver’s license.

IIDs require the drivers to submit to a breathalyzer test using a portable testing system whenever they want to get behind the wheel, essentially requiring the driver to “unlock” the car by successfully completing a breathalyzer test. The court may also require the driver to purchase and maintain the device.

Penalties By Number of Offense

Current penalties for DUIs in the state of Tennessee, according to the state’s website.
In addition to these listed penalties, a DUI charge can be further compounded by additional penalties of varying degrees; a driver committing a DUI can also be charged with property damage and vehicular homicide.

First-Offense

• A maximum of 29 days in jail
• Loss of driver’s license by license suspension for one year (restricted license may be available)
• Participation in an alcohol/drug treatment program through a court order
• Financial liability for the medical/legal fines of victims
• Fines ranging from $350 to $1,500

Second Offense

• 29 days in jail and up to 11 months of probation
• Fines between $600 to $3,500,
• Loss of a driver’s license for 2 years (restricted license may be available)
• Vehicle seizure and/or forfeiter
• Drug/alcohol treatment program attendance as required by the court
• Restitution to victims, if applicable
• The purchase and use of an IID

Third Offense

Third-time DUI offenses, according to the state of Tennessee’s website:
• 29 days in jail and up to 11 months of probation
• Fines between $1,100 and $10,000,
• No driver’s license for 6 years (restricted license may be available)
• Vehicle seizure and/or forfeiter
• Mandatory drug/alcohol treatment program attendance
• Restitution to any victims
• An IID if the second offense occurred within 5 years of the first offense.

Fourth Offense and Additional Offenses

• Jail time of one year
• Fines between $3,000 and $15,000
• No driver’s license for 8 years (restricted license may be available)
• Vehicle seizure and/or forfeiter
• Mandatory drug/alcohol treatment program attendance
• Restitution to any victims
• An IID if the second offense occurred within 5 years of the first offense.

Contact Us Today

To learn more about DUI penalties and legal strategies to responsibly address any legal charges, contact The Clarke Law Firm today. We have the expertise to handle your case with the care and attention it deserves.

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