Penalties for Driving Under the Influence (DUI) in Tennessee
Penalties for driving under the influence (DUI) in Tennessee can be harsh and hiring the right DUI defense attorney in Knoxville and surrounding areas is the first step to ensuring that a DUI or other alcohol related driving offense doesn't destroy your professional, financial and personal life. For example, in Tennessee a first-time DUI conviction requires a mandatory forty-eight (48) hours in jail, and a possible jail sentence of 11 months and 29 days. Your license will be suspended for a year, and you may be required to place an ignition interlock device on your vehicle at your own expense. Fines can run anywhere from $350 to $1,500, court costs can sometimes exceed $1,000, and the State may well attempt to seizure your vehicle. Not to mention the collateral consequences of a DUI conviction on your job, family, and reputation.
Punishments for second offense DUI (DUI 2nd) are even harsher. If convicted of DUI 2nd, there is a mandatory forty-five (45) days in jail and a potential jail sentence of up to 11 months and 29 days. Your driver's license is revoked for a minimum of two years, and while restricted licenses are available, a judge can order the installation of an ignition interlock device at your expense. The State may well attempt to seize your vehicle and, through a process called judicial forfeiture, have it forfeited to the State. Fines and court costs can also add several thousand dollars to the final bill. In sum, the consequences for a second offense DUI conviction are catastrophic.
Third and fourth offense DUI are punished even more harshly with additional jail time and increased fines and costs. Third offense DUI convictions carry a mandatory minimum of 120 days in jail and fines between $1,100 and $10,000. Your license can be revoked for up to six years, and your vehicle is subject to seizure and forfeiture by the State. Fourth offense DUI offenses in Tennessee are punished as an E Felony and require one year of jail time, of which 150 days must be served consecutively. Your vehicle is subject to seizure and forfeiture and fines range from $3,000 to $15,000. Your license may be revoked for eight years.
There are other alcohol related driving offenses in Tennessee that carry even harsher penalties, including Aggravated Assault, Vehicular Homicide, and Child Endangerment. But driving under the influence is not merely limited to alcohol, and the attorneys at the Law Office of James A.H. Bell have seen an increasing number of DUI charges involving marijuana and prescription drugs in the East Tennessee area. Regardless of the accusation, hiring the right Tennessee DUI defense attorney is crucial to avoiding or mitigating these punishments and the attorneys and staff at the Law Office of James A.H. Bell have over sixty combined years of experience in defending against DUI cases of all kinds.