In the state of Tennessee, there are laws regarding driving under the influence or DUI. It’s important to know these laws if you are ever driving within the state after you have been drinking. There are many aspects of DUI laws in Tennessee that can result in criminal sentences that include jail time, fines and even having your driver’s license revoked.
In Tennessee, the level of blood alcohol concentration or BAC that determines a person is drunk is 0.08. If someone is found driving with a BAC of as much as 0.20 or greater, the penalties are even more severe. There is also a zero tolerance policy for individuals under the age of 21 who are found to be drinking. If someone under 21 years old has a BAC of 0.02 while driving, it is considered a DUI offense. Someone between the ages of 16 and 20 who is found to be drinking and driving can have their license revoked for one year, receive a fine of $250 and be ordered to perform community service.
For first-time DUI offenders in Tennessee, there is a mandatory minimum jail time of 48 hours unless the person’s BAC is higher than 0.20, in which case the jail time would be at least seven days. Depending on the situation, a first DUI offense can result in as much as 11 months and 29 days in jail and a fine ranging from $350 to $1,500. The individual can also have their driver’s license revoked and be ordered to attend a treatment program for drugs and alcohol.
With a second DUI offense, there is a minimum of 45 days spent in jail and a maximum of one year as well as a fine of $600 to $3,500. The individual can also expect their license to be revoked for two years, but once it is reinstated, its usage is generally restricted to attending school, going to work or to alcohol rehab programs. In addition, the individual can expect an interlock device placed on their vehicle for monitoring. In some cases, the vehicle can even be confiscated after a second DUI offense.
For a third DUI offense, it’s even more severe. There is a minimum jail sentence of 120 days and a maximum of one year, fines ranging from $1,100 to $10,000 and the individual’s license being revoked for six to 10 years. That means there is no ability to travel to and from work via car. Things only get more severe for any additional DUI offenses, which are considered felonies. Minimum jail sentences are 365 days, with fines of $3,000 to $15,000 and a license being revoked for eight years.
In addition, the offender can be ordered by a judge to make restitutions to anyone they harmed for any DUI offense.
If a driver is found to have had a child under the age of 18 in the vehicle during the time of the offense, they will receive a fine of at least $1,000 and a minimum of 30 days in jail. This stands even if the child was uninjured during the incident.
Ignition Interlock Devices
Even with a first-time DUI offense, a judge can order the individual to have an ignition interlock device placed on their vehicle. It is a device that requires the driver to breathe into it prior to starting their car. If the individual has two convictions for DUI within five years, the IID must be in place at least six months after their license is reinstated.
A driver can have their license revoked for up to a year or even longer for DUI if they refuse to submit to a BAC test when stopped by a police officer. This is known as implied consent. In addition, the police officer can testify to factors that show intoxication, such as alcohol smell on the breath, alcohol containers, slurred speech and more.
If you are pulled over for suspicion of DUI in the Knoxville, TN area, you need a knowledgeable attorney on your side. Hiring a DUI lawyer is your best bet for having the charges against you reduced or even eliminated.
Download our DUI Cheat Sheet in case you’re ever pulled over for suspicion of DUI in Tennessee >>>