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Penalties for DUI in Tennessee

Driving under the influence, also known as DUI, qualifies as an illegal act in every U.S. state. Tennessee is no exception; DUIs carry steep penalties for individuals caught driving while intoxicated.

First-Time Offender

A first-time DUI in the state of Tennessee can include the penalties of jail time of up to 29 days, the loss of a driver’s license for one year, mandatory participation in an alcohol or drug treatment program, fines to any person that suffered physical injury due to the DUI, and a fine ranging from $350 to $1,500.

Additionally, the offense may require the use of an ignition interlock device, or an IID. These devices work the same way as a bicycle lock; before the car can be turned on, the driver has to use a small handheld breathalyzer to verify their intoxication level. These devices, usually about the size of a smartphone, can also be referred to as breath alcohol ignition interlock devices, or BAIID. The offender may be required to purchase and use the device for whatever length of time the court decides as necessary.

Second Offense

A second DUI offense can include jail time of 29 days and up to 11 months of probation, a mandatory fine ranging between $600 to $3,500, the loss of a driver’s license for 2 years, the possibility of having your vehicle seized, and/or forfeited, and mandatory attendance at a drug/alcohol treatment program. Restitution may be owed to any injured victims, and an IID may be required if the second offense occurred within 5 years of the first offense.

Third Offense

A third DUI offense can include jail time of 29 days and up to 11 months of probation, a mandatory fine ranging between $1,100 to $10,000, the loss of a driver’s license for 6 years, the possibility of having your vehicle seized, and/or forfeited, and mandatory attendance at a drug/alcohol treatment program. Restitution may be owed to any injured victims, and an IID may be required if the second offense occurred within 5 years of the first offense.

Fourth Offense

A fourth violation, and any further violations that follow after that, constitutes a Class E felony in the state of Tennessee. The penalties include 1 year of jail time, mandatory fines between $3,000 to $15,000, the loss of a driver’s license for 8 years, the possibility of having your vehicle seized and/or forfeited, and mandatory attendance at a drug/alcohol treatment program. Restitution may be owed to any injured victims, and an IID may be required if the second offense occurred within 5 years of the first offense.

Additionally, the DUI may incur further penalties based on the type of violation. Vehicular Assault, classified as a serious injury to another person by a DUI driver, can result in the loss of a driver’s license for 1 to 5 years, 2 to 12 years of jail time, and applicable fines/court fees.

In addition to the loss of a driver’s license, Child Endangerment, or when the DUI occurs while the driver has a passenger younger than 18, includes 2 to 12 years in jail if the child suffers an injury and between 8 to 30 years in the event of death.

To learn more about Tennessee DUI penalties and about legal strategies in the event of a DUI, contact the Clarke Law Firm today. We have the expertise to handle your case with the care and attention it deserves.