- posted: Dec. 30, 2022
- Criminal Defense
A conviction of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol carries heavy legal consequences, including mandatory jail time, fines, and suspension of your driver's license. If you are convicted of DUI as a repeat offender, the punishments are even more severe.
In Tennessee, DUI is a misdemeanor. Even a first offense can result in 48 hours to just under a year in jail. You also face a fine of up to $1,500 and a one-year revocation of your driver’s license.
A second DUI conviction that occurs within 10 years of your first carries the following penalties:
- At least 45 days in jail
- A fine of up to $3,500
- Loss of your driver's license for two years
A third DUI conviction that occurs within 10 years of your first carries the following penalties:
- At least 120 days in jail
- A fine of up to $10,000
- Loss of your driver's license for six years
For certain second or third offenses, you will be required to install an ignition interlock device in your car for six months once you are permitted to drive again. And you will have to attend drug and alcohol classes and possibly undergo treatment.
Still heavier punishments are possible for aggravated DUI, which can be charged as a felony offense. An aggravated DUI charge can result in any of the following sentences:
- High blood alcohol content (BAC) — A BAC level of .08 percent is enough for a basic DUI charge. But if the driver's BAC is .20 percent or above, even a first DUI carries a mandatory minimum of seven days in jail (as opposed to 48 hours for other first-time DUIs).
- Driving with minor in the car — If you are caught driving under the influence with a minor in your car, there is a mandatory minimum sentence of 30 days in jail. If a minor is injured, you can be convicted of child endangerment, a felony that carries a sentence of up to 12 years in prison. If a minor in your vehicle is killed, you face up to 30 years in prison.
- Serious injury to another person — If you cause someone severe harm while driving under the influence, you can be convicted of vehicular assault, a felony that carries a prison sentence of two to 12 years.
- Death of another person — If you cause someone’s death while driving under the influence, you can be convicted of vehicular homicide and face a prison sentence of eight to 30 years.
In addition to jail time, punishments for aggravated DUI offenses include heavy monetary fines and loss of your driver's license for several years or indefinitely.
Massengill, Caldwell & Coughlin, P.C. in Bristol has been representing Tennessee drivers in DUI cases for decades. Our DUI lawyers are familiar with the applicable laws and will work for the best possible outcome in your case. Contact us at 423-797-6022 or contact us online to schedule your free initial consultation.