General DUI Information

Although it is a Class A misdemeanor like shoplifting, assault, and simple possession, the crime of Driving Under the Influence is far more complicated, both in terms of its elements and punishment.  It is also distinguishable from other crimes in that it can sometimes be supported only by an officer’s opinion.  The offense is set forth in Tennessee Code Annotated § 55-10-403, and contains these elements:

DRIVING ELEMENTS

  • Actual driving, or
  • Simple “physical control” of the vehicle

LOCATION ELEMENTS

  • Any public road
  • Highway of the state
  • Any street
  • Alley
  • Or while on the premises of any:
    • Shopping center
    • Trailer park
    • Any apartment house complex
  • Or “any other premises that is generally frequented by the public”

INTOXICATION ELEMENTS

  • “Under the influence” of:
    • Any intoxicant
    • Marijuana
    • Controlled substance
    • Drug
    • Substance affecting the central nervous system
    • Or combination thereof that impairs the driver’s ability to safely operate a motor vehicle
  • An alcohol concentration of .08% or more

The penalties for DUI are dramatically enhanced when a person has one or more prior convictions for DUI, or other qualifying offenses.  Click on the links to the right or below to see the penalties and consequences for each offense.

A person’s driving privileges will be revoked upon conviction for DUI and/or for violating the Implied Consent Law, which authorizes license revocation when a person withholds consent to perform a breath, blood, or urine test to determine blood-alcohol concentration.  These consequences, and the eligibility and requirements for obtaining a restricted license can be found in the links to the right or below.