Driving under the influence (DUI) is a serious offense in almost every jurisdiction, but the stakes and penalties become even more severe when there’s a child in the vehicle. In Tennessee, if you’re caught driving while intoxicated with a minor in the car, you could face enhanced penalties. Below, we’ll explore the potential consequences and why you should be aware of them.
Tennessee DUI Laws and Penalties
In Tennessee, it’s illegal to drive with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08% or higher. If you’re caught doing so, you can face a variety of penalties, including fines, jail time, and the suspension of your driver’s license.
Specifically, the consequences for a first-time DUI offense in Tennessee may include:
1. Fines ranging from $350 to $1,500.
2. Mandatory jail time of 48 hours up to 11 months, 29 days.
3. License suspension for one year.
4. Mandatory participation in an alcohol and drug treatment program.
You can find more details on the Tennessee Code Annotated § 55-10-401.
DUI with a Child in the Car
When you add a minor passenger into the mix, things get more complicated. Tennessee law considers it a form of child endangerment to drive under the influence with a child under the age of 18 in the car. This means that, in addition to the regular DUI penalties, you might face:
1. Increased Jail Time: Having a child in the car can add a mandatory minimum of 30 days to your jail sentence and a minimum fine of $1,000.
2. Child Abuse or Neglect Charges: Depending on the circumstances, you might also be charged with child abuse or neglect, which comes with its own set of penalties.
3. Enhanced Penalties for Injuries: If the child gets injured due to the DUI, the penalties become even more severe. This could lead to felony charges, extended jail time, and larger fines.
It’s crucial to understand that a DUI charge with a minor in the vehicle not only affects you but also the well-being of the child involved. The state may involve child protective services, which could lead to further legal complications and even potential loss of custody.
For the specific laws on DUI with a child passenger, you can refer to the Tennessee Code Annotated § 55-10-403.
Defense and Next Steps
Being charged with a DUI, especially with a minor in the car, can feel overwhelming. But it’s essential to remember that a charge doesn’t equate to a conviction. There are several defense strategies that can be employed, depending on the circumstances of your arrest. For instance, challenging the legitimacy of the traffic stop, the accuracy of the breathalyzer or field sobriety tests, or even the procedures followed by the arresting officers can all play a role in your defense.
However, for the best outcome, it’s crucial to work with an experienced attorney who’s familiar with Tennessee’s DUI laws and has a proven track record of defending such cases.
Contact Murfreesboro DUI Lawyer David Clarke
If you or someone you know has been charged with a DUI, especially with a child in the car, it’s essential to get legal representation immediately. David Clarke, a reputed Murfreesboro DUI lawyer, can provide you with the guidance, support, and defense strategy you need during this challenging time. With a deep understanding of Tennessee’s DUI laws and a commitment to his clients, David is the ally you want by your side.
Driving under the influence is a grave mistake that can have lasting consequences, particularly when there’s a child involved. Awareness of the potential repercussions is the first step in ensuring you make the right choices on the road. If you find yourself facing these charges, securing experienced legal counsel should be your top priority. Call Clarke Law today!