Impaired driving under Tennessee law is the crime of driving a motor vehicle while impaired by alcohol and/or drugs, including those prescribed by physicians. Impaired driving, driving while intoxicated (DWI), or drunk driving are all terms for the crime of Driving Under the Influence (DUI). It is a common but serious crime in Tennessee and a conviction can bring headaches you do not want.
Degree of Impairment
Tennessee law defines impaired driving as operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of any intoxicant, marijuana, controlled substance, controlled substance analog, drug, substance affecting the central nervous system, or a combination thereof that impairs the driver’s ability to safely operate the vehicle. This includes not only well-known conditions of intoxication such as slurred speech, bloodshot eyes, and imbalance, but also any mental or physical state resulting from drug or alcohol consumption that diminishes one’s clearness of mind and self-control. Poor decision making, inability to understand what is happening, belligerent behavior, or loud shouting come to mind.
If your Blood Alcohol Level (BAC) is over 0.08 you are considered intoxicated. BAC is a measure of the number of grams of alcohol per 100 milliliters of blood. Tennessee even has a charge of Aggravated DUI which is if you are at a 0.20 BAC or approximatelly 2 1/2 times the legal limit, you are treated even more severely. Also Tennessee has “Per Se Violation for B.A.C.” which means Tennessee law states that having a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08% or higher constitutes a per se violation of the law, regardless of lack of observable impairment.
Penalties for Impaired Driving Offenses
If you are convicted of a DUI offense in Tennessee you can face severe penalties, including:
- Jail time, starting at 48 hours for a first time offense or up to 8 years for a fourth offense
- Fines, starting at $350 for a first time offense or up to $15,000 for a fourth offense
- License suspension, starting at one year for a first time offense or up to an indefinite length of time for a fourth offense
- Installation of an ignition interlock device, mandatory regardless of the number of offenses committed
For first-time offenders, in addition to jailtime and fines, you likely will have mandatory alcohol safety classes and a one-year driver’s license suspension. If the BAC was .20 or higher, the jail time increases to seven consecutive days instead of 48 hours.
Subsequent convictions escalate the penalties:
A second conviction leads to a 45 day jail term, a fine of $600 to $3,500, and a two-year license suspension. Third-time offenders face a 120 day jail term, a fine up to $10,000, and a six-year license suspension. Fourth and fifth convictions are classified as E-felony and D-felony respectively, with imprisonment periods and fines ranging from one to fifteen years and $3,000 to $15,000. Loss of license for eight years accompanies both these convictions. For sixth or subsequent convictions, it’s a C-felony with three to fifteen years of imprisonment, a minimum of 150 consecutive days in jail, fines up to $15,000, and at least an eight-year license suspension.
Restricted Driver’s License
Tennessee does offer restricted licenses under specific circumstances, which allows limited driving priviledges. Eligibility depends on the case details, with restrictions on geographic movement or the installation of an Ignition Interlock Device (IID) on the vehicle. An IID is mandatory for a variety of situations, including a BAC of .08% or above, DUI with any Blood Alcohol Content and Drugs, accidents due to DUI, and more.
Call Murfreesboro DUI Defense Lawyer David Clarke
If you may have been driving impaired, you still want to avoid a DUI conviction. Our firm will work diligently to get charges dropped or reduced. If you believe you have a substance abuse problem, then you should seek help with your private physician.
If you find yourself facing Impaired Driving charges, it’s crucial to seek our help. Contact DUI defense lawyer David Clarke at The Clarke Law Firm as soon as possible. With unique case solutions and aggressive representation, he is well-equipped to handle your legal matters, including criminal defense and personal injury cases. Located 201 East Main Street, Suite 405, Murfreesboro, TN 37130, call 615-796-6299 or Se Habla Español: 615-809-1255 or use our online form