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What Penalties Will I Face When Charged With DUI in Tennessee?

Posted on in DUI/DWI/BUI

Knoxville DUI defense lawyerWhile drunk driving is the most common type of DUI faced by Tennessee drivers, a driver can also face criminal charges for driving under the influence of a controlled substance, including marijuana, prescription drugs, or other substances. If you have been accused of driving while impaired, an experienced attorney can help you understand your options for defense and work to have your charges or penalties reduced or dismissed.

How Is Intoxication or Impairment Determined?

In many cases, a person suspected of DUI is pulled over because they were driving erratically. In other cases, a driver may be stopped at a checkpoint, or they may have their blood alcohol tested after getting into an accident. No matter how it comes about, a driver can face some very serious consequences when charged with a DUI. However, a police officer must have probable cause before pulling a driver over, and simply saying that a driver seems to be under the influence is not enough to hold up in court. 

After being arrested for DUI, a driver will typically be subjected to alcohol and/or drug testing. In many cases, either a blood or urine sample will be taken and tested. This type of sample may be collected by any medical professional. Although there will be a legal test administered, the accused party also has the right to have an independent blood or urine sample tested by a licensed medical laboratory of his or her choice.

What Are the Penalties for DUI in Tennessee?

First, second, and third convictions for DUI are all Class A misdemeanors that can result in up to 11 months and 29 days in jail. The minimum jail time for a first conviction is set at 48 hours, along with fines of $350 to $1,500. The minimum sentence for a second conviction is 45 days in jail, plus $600 to $3,500 in fines, and the minimum for a third conviction is 120 days, plus $1,100 to $11,000 in fines.

Once you reach four or more DUIs within 10 years, you will face a Class E felony. The law calls for 150 days to 6 years in jail and $3,000 to $15,000 in fines. Vehicular assault, even with a first DUI, can bring on jail time of 2 to 12 years, and fines adding up to a maximum of $5,000. DUI with a child under 18 years of age in the vehicle may also bring on a child endangerment charge, which means 30 days minimum in jail in addition to any other penalty imposed. Vehicular homicide, a Class B felony, or aggravated vehicular homicide, a Class A felony, are even more serious crimes, and punishments will vary based on the situation.

DUI offenders will typically also be required to take substance abuse education and treatment classes. Any DUI after the first may also result in a vehicle seizure and forfeiture.

Contact a Knoxville DUI Attorney

No matter how many DUIs you have had or how extreme your impending charges may be, Jeffrey Coller, Knoxville Criminal Defense Lawyer, can help you understand your best options for defense. You need an experienced Knox County DUI attorney on your side. Call 865-281-1000 to set up a free consultation today.

Sources:

https://www.nhtsa.gov/sites/nhtsa.dot.gov/files/documents/812468_2016-digest-of-state-laws-driving-under-the-influence-of-drugs.pdf

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