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Tennessee Trial Lawyers Association

A Lesson in Consequences From a DUI Lawyer

What can happen to you if you are convicted of driving under the influence in Tennessee?  The answer depends on a number of variables. It is important for anyone who decides to drive while intoxicated to understand the potential consequences of that decision. A person convicted of DUI may face jail time, fines, community service, court costs and other penalties. And the penalties get more severe with each conviction.

DUI Jail Time. In Tennessee, a DUI conviction means mandatory jail time – every time, even if it is your first conviction. Jail time will increase with each DUI conviction and the sentence is served “day for day.” That means that there are generally no credits – like “good behavior” – that allow a DUI offender to be released earlier.

DUI Fines. A DUI conviction requires a minimum fine, even for the first offense, and maximum amounts can be quite high.

Loss of Driver’s License. A DUI conviction in Tennessee could result in the loss of your driver’s license. Some convictions may only result in license restrictions, but the impact on your transportation and potentially your employment could be devastating.

Community Service. A first DUI conviction requires 24 hours of roadside litter pickup. The judge could always add more as part of the sentence.

Court Costs. Most people do not realize how expensive court can be. These costs must be paid in order to maintain a driver’s license. Payment of court costs is generally a condition of probation as well.  Court costs include things like subpoenas, warrants, charges for court staff and litigation taxes.  Additionally, the county will bill you a set amount for each day spent in jail. Total court costs are usually at least $1,000.

Additional Penalties. As part of sentencing, you will have to attend a Victim Impact Panel. These panels include a presentation given by victims of DUI crashes who speak about the impact the DUI crash has had on their lives.  The panel presents an often unheard perspective to DUI offenders.  You may also be required to have a vehicle ignition lock that requires a breath test to start your vehicle.

Summary of Penalties

For a first offense, you will face a minimum of 48 hours in jail (increased to 7 days if your blood alcohol content is over .20%). Maximum jail time is 11 months, 29 days. Your fine will be anywhere between $350 and $1,500. In addition, you could lose your license for up to a year or have restrictions placed on your license.

For a second offense, you will face a minimum of 45 days in jail, but could be sentenced up to 11 months and 29 days. Your fine will be at least $600, but could be as much as $3,500. You will lose your license for up to two years; a restricted license might be available after 1 year.

A third offense will bring a minimum jail sentence of 120 days and potentially as much as 11 months and 29 days.  Your fine will be at least $1,100, but could be as high as $10,000. You will lose your license for at least 6 years.

A fourth offense means at least 150 days in jail, and potentially as much as 6 years. The minimum fine is $3,000, but may be as much as $15,000. You will lose your license for at least 8 years.

Get Help

The Lawyers of Brown & Roberto urge you to please drink responsibly, knowing that your actions will impact others. If you are facing a DUI charge, you will need a DUI lawyer that is experienced and is not afraid to take your case to trial. Our associate, George Maifair is an experienced DUI attorney and is prepared to listen to your side of the story. He will fight for your rights in court. For more information, visit www.BrownandRoberto.com or contact George using the form below.

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