Facing a DUI conviction in Tennessee is no minor matter. Penalties range from a mandatory jail sentence (from 48 hours up to a year), to fines, restitution, and license revocation. Therefore, it’s crucial to understand Tennessee’s legal alcohol limit. This knowledge could not only spare you from legal complications, but also protect your life and those of others on the road.
In Tennessee, the legal Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) limit is .08 for most drivers. However, for commercial vehicle drivers, the limit is .04. If you’re found to have a BAC at or above these limits during a traffic stop, an arrest and vehicle towing are likely. If you find yourself in such a situation, it’s essential to reach out to a Tennessee DUI attorney as soon as possible. With the assistance of an experienced DUI lawyer, you can potentially limit the repercussions of a DUI conviction, or even have the charge reduced. Contact us today to schedule your free initial consultation.
Refusing the BAC Test: Know the Consequences
While you have the right to refuse a chemical BAC test in Tennessee, such refusal comes with its own consequences, such as an Implied Consent violation. If the state proves that your rights were not violated during the stop and you refused a breath test, this charge results in an automatic one-year license suspension. Furthermore, if you have a prior DUI conviction and refuse a chemical BAC test, Tennessee allows for a forcible blood draw with a warrant.
Zero Tolerance for Underage Drivers
Tennessee enforces a “zero tolerance” DUI policy for drivers under 21. A BAC over .02 while driving is considered a DUI under Tennessee state law for these drivers. Penalties for “impaired driving” for those aged 16 to 21 include a one-year license suspension, fines, and potential court-ordered community service. The “Drug Free Youth Act” also imposes a one-year license suspension for anyone aged 13 to 17.
Understanding DUI Penalties in Tennessee
Being pulled over with a BAC over the legal limit in Tennessee carries significant penalties. These penalties vary depending on the number of previous DUI convictions:
First DUI Offense: Mandatory 48 hours jail time (seven days if BAC is over .20), up to 11 months and 29 days in jail, fines of $350 – $1,500, one-year license suspension, mandatory ignition interlock installation, court-ordered alcohol and drug treatment program, and possible community service.
Second DUI Offense: Minimum 45-day jail sentence, $600- $3,500 in fines, two-year license suspension, and vehicle confiscation.
Third DUI Offense: Minimum 120 days in jail, up to $10,000 in fines, up to 10-year license suspension without the ability to obtain a restricted license.
Fourth or Subsequent DUI Offense: Minimum one-year jail time, up to $15,000 in fines, eight-year license suspension without the possibility of getting a restricted license.
Do I Need a DUI Attorney in Tennessee?
DUI convictions have far-reaching consequences, affecting your finances, career, relationships, and freedom. Engaging a seasoned DUI attorney in Tennessee can enhance your chances of having your charges dropped, reduced, or lessening some of the penalties. If you’ve been pulled over for driving with a BAC above the legal limit in Tennessee, you don’t have to fight alone. Contact our attorneys to schedule your free initial consultation today.