Driving after having a few drinks can substantially impact your ability to drive safely. It doesn't just put you at risk. It creates increased danger for everyone else on the road as well. That's why all 50 states have created laws that limit the amount of alcohol you can legally have in your body while driving. The idea is to deter people from getting behind the while while intoxicated or impaired.
Despite the laws in place, people end up arrested for alcohol-related driving offenses every day in Tennessee. For those facing driving under the influence (DUI) charges in Tennessee, the penalties will vary depending on the number of previous offenses and other factors, such as if a crash occurred and if there were children in the vehicle.
What penalties can a first time DUI charge carry?
The limit for your blood alcohol content (BAC) if you're driving is 0.08 percent. If your blood tests at that level or higher, the state considers you legally drunk, regardless of how you actually drive. If you find yourself facing a first-time DUI charge, the penalties could really change your life. You will face between 48 hours and 11 months and 29 days in jail.
You will lose your license for a full year, although a restricted license may be an option through the state ignition interlock program. You will also need to attend mandatory alcohol and drug treatment and pay a fine of anywhere between $300 and $1,500. If you have a higher blood alcohol content (0.20 or greater), you will face a minimum of seven consecutive days in jail.
Expect increased penalties for subsequent offenses
If you have a second DUI conviction in a five-year period, you can expect to spend between 45 days and 11 months and 29 days in jail. You will have to pay a fine of between $600 and $3,500. You will lose your license for two years. You must install an Ignition Interlock Device at your own expense for at least six months after the reinstatement of your license. You will have to attend a treatment program, and your vehicle may be subject to seizure and sale by the state.
Third offenses carry between 120 days and 11 months and 29 days in jail, as well as between $1,000 and $10,000 in fines, loss of your license for six years and the potential seizure and sale of your vehicle. For a fourth or subsequent offense, the charges become felony charges. You will face a one year in jail with at least 150 consecutive days. The fine increases to between $3,000 and $15,000, and you will lose your license for eight years. Considering your options for a defense against these charges is typically your best choice.