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Can You Go to Jail for a DUI Conviction?

 Posted on November 09,2023 in DUI/DWI/BUI

Knoxville DUI Defense Lawyer

A DUI conviction can carry serious penalties, and Tennessee is no exception. The legal ramifications of a DUI conviction will depend on prior offenses, your blood alcohol level, and your willingness to take a blood alcohol test.

Many people are not aware that you may face jail time if you are convicted of a DUI. To avoid having your civil liberties taken away, you need legal guidance from an experienced Knoxville DUI defense lawyer

Penalties for a First DUI Offense

In Tennessee, if you are convicted of a first-time DUI and are at least 21 years old, you can face the following penalties:

  • To spend at least 48 hours in jail
  • If you were driving under the influence and you had an accident that resulted in death or injury to another person, you can expect to spend up to 11 months and 29 days in prison.
  • A mandatory fine between $350 and $1,500
  • Restitution to any person who had physical injuries or losses due to your DUI
  • Your license will be revoked for one year.
  • You may be eligible to have a Restricted License, which will allow you to drive to work and other limited places (the parameters of which will be stated in a court order)
  • You may be required to attend a drug and alcohol treatment program at a judge’s discretion.
  • If your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is 0.2 or higher, then you will be required to spend at least seven consecutive days in jail.

Your prison sentence will increase for successive DUI offenses, with a second-time offender facing a minimum sentence of 45 days in jail and a third-time offender having a minimum sentence of 120 days in jail. Fourth-time and subsequent offenders will have to spend at least one year in jail. 

What Do the Authorities Need to Prove to Convict You?

While a police officer must have probable cause to arrest you for a DUI, convicting you is another matter.

For a DUI conviction, a prosecutor must prove:

  • You were in a motor vehicle;
  • That you had physical control of;
  • You were on a public road or public premises, and
  • You were impaired

The most difficult element to prove is that you were impaired. While a blood test will clearly show if someone is inebriated, proving that someone’s driving was altered can be more difficult.

To prove impairment, a prosecutor will need to present evidence that shows you were swerving, switching lanes erratically, or otherwise driving your vehicle in an unsafe manner.

If the only evidence showing that you were driving above the legal limit is a breathalyzer test, then the prosecution will have a weak case. A breathalyzer is known to have inaccurate readings and may show a high blood alcohol level for people with certain medical conditions. 

A Knox County DUI defense lawyer will know what avenues to pursue to help you avoid a DUI conviction.

A Knoxville, TN, DUI Defense Lawyer with Proven Results

You may be frightened, confused, and angry following a DUI arrest, probably having no idea what steps to take next. If you need skilled representation, the Knox County, TN, DUI defense lawyers of Jeffrey Coller, Knoxville Criminal Defense Attorney are here to assist you. Contact us today online or call 865-281-1000 to schedule your free consultation. 

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