All it takes is one or two too many drinks to be too drunk to drive. Not only is it incredibly dangerous to drive while under the influence of alcohol, it can also lead to serious legal consequences as well, even if it is your first DUI. A one-time mistake can have a detrimental effect on your life, but you can fight against drunk driving charges, regardless of your criminal history.
Some Tennessee drivers make the mistake of assuming that a first DUI is not that serious. Others believe that there is nothing that can be done and that pleading guilty is the only option. Neither of these is true, and not only is it possible to defend against these types of charges, it is wise to do so.
The penalties for a first-time DUI in Tennessee
Tennessee takes a strong stand against drunk driving, and the penalties are steep, even for first-time offenders. If convicted of a DUI for the first time, some of the potential penalties you could face include:
- 48 hours in jail, with the potential of jail time up to 11 months and 29 days
- License revocation for a period of one year
- Mandatory participation in a drug and alcohol treatment program
- Seven consecutive days in jail for offenders with a BAC of .20 or above
- Fines ranging from $350 to $1,500
- Installation of ignition interlock device
These penalties will not only have a logistical impact on your life, they can be quite costly as well. In addition to the required fines and the costs of an ignition interlock device, you may also have to pay restitution to others harmed by your actions, as well as towing fees and other expenses. A first-time offense is quite serious, and the threat of these penalties merits the need for a serious defense strategy.
Fighting for your future
A DUI conviction is a threat to your current and future interests, even if it is your first offense. You would be wise to take this threat seriously by beginning to build your defense strategy as soon as possible after an arrest. With help and guidance, you can fight to have the charges against you reduced or dismissed.
Neither a conviction nor a guilty plea is ever your only option. A complete evaluation of your case can determine the optimal course of action for your defense, which could mean challenging the evidence against you or calling into question the legality of the original traffic stop, among other strategies.