Tennessee DUI Penalties

Pleading guilty is the number one mistake made in DUI Defense.

The following list is only a general overview of the penalties for DUI convictions in Tennessee. If you are charged with DUI you should consult with an experienced DUI attorney concerning the facts and circumstances in your individual case.

The Tennessee DUI statute is codified at 55-10-401. That section states: “It is unlawful for any person to drive or to be in physical control of any automobile or other motor driven vehicle on any of the public roads and highways of the State, any shopping center, trailer park, apartment house complex or any other location which is generally frequented by the public at large, while:

  1. under the influence of any intoxicant, marijuana, controlled substance, controlled substance analogue, drug, substance affecting the central nervous system or combination thereof that impairs the driver’s ability to safely operate a motor vehicle by depriving the driver of the clearness of mind and control of himself which he would otherwise possess.
  2. the alcohol concentration in the person’s blood or breath is eight-hundreths of one percent (0.08%) or more; or
  3. With a blood alcohol concentration of four-hundreths of one percent (0.04%) and the vehicle is a commercial motor vehicle

1st offense DUI – Class A misdemeanor

    • Up to 11 months and 29 days in jail with a mandatory minimum of 48 hours to serve. If breath or blood results are .20 or greater, the mandatory minimum is 7 days to serve.
    • $350.00 fine
    • 3 days public works
    • DUI school
    • 1 year loss of license (restricted license available for a TN licensee with an interlock)

2nd offense: Class A misdemeanor

    • Up to 11 months and 29 days in jail with a mandatory minimum of 45 days to serve.
    • $600.00-$3,500.00 fine
    • 2 year loss of license (restricted license available for a TN licensee with an interlock)
    • Interlock required for an additional 6 months after reinstatement
    • Seizure of vehicle

3rd offense: Class A misdemeanor

    • Up to 11 months and 29 days in jail with a mandatory minimum of 120 days to serve.
    • $1,100.00 -$10,000.00 fine
    • 6 year loss of license (restricted license available for a TN licensee with an interlock)
    • Interlock required for an additional 6 months after reinstatement
    • Seizure of vehicle

4th offense or greater: Felony

    • Up to 6 years in jail with a mandatory minimum of 150 days to serve.
    • $3,000.00 -$15,000.00 fine
    • 8 year loss of license (restricted license available for a TN licensee with an interlock)
    • Interlock required for an additional 6 months after reinstatement
    • Seizure of vehicle

Note: If at the time of the DUI offense, the person was accompanied by a child under 18 years of age, the person’s sentence shall be enhanced by a mandatory minimum of 30 days to be served in addition to the penalty for the DUI and an additional $1,000.00 fine.

DUI Convictions are for Life

It is important to be aware that DUI, unlike many other crimes, is not expungeable from your record unless your case is won or dismissed. A DUI conviction remains on your record for life.

For this reason, there are many other unforseen collateral consequences of a DUI conviction in addition to the statutory penalties listed above.

A few examples are:

    • Loss of car insurance or sky high premiums
    • Loss of job due to negative impact on a professional license or security clearance; additionally, many military offenders will suffer sanctions within the military in addition to the state penalties such as loss of driving privileges on base, loss of rank, and suspended pay
    • Inability to travel freely outside of the United States
    • Immigration problems
    • Inability to get certain jobs
Let Me Help

Due to the serious nature of this kind of offense, the mandatory jail time even for a first offense, and the many often unforeseen collateral consequences that may exist depending on your individual circumstances, it is important to consult with an experienced DUI defense lawyer as soon as possible.

Let experienced Chattanooga, Tennessee DUI defense attorney Andrea Hayduk review your case and advise you as to your options. Contact Ms. Hayduk now at 423-805-3100 or click below for a free initial consultation.

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