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Tennessee’s enhanced DUI penalties

There is nothing wrong with having a drink from time-to-time. However, people can make poor choices after they have had too many drinks. Sometimes these mistakes can be social in nature, such as embarrassing oneself at a company party or saying things to a friend that one may regret later. These types of mistakes may have social consequences, but they are not illegal. However, there are other decisions that people make which can have serious legal consequences.

One of these decisions is drinking and driving. People who are caught doing this may face jail time and lose their driver’s license for a period of time. The penalties increase when an individual has multiple DUIs as well. However, even a first time DUI conviction could have enhanced penalties depending on the circumstances.

Usually a first time DUI will result in a minimum of 48 hours in jail and a one year license suspension. This is not true, though, if the accused individual causes an accident that seriously injures or kills another person or if they have a child under the age of 18 in the car at the time of the drunk driving.

When drunk driving causes injury to another person, then the accused individual could face anywhere between two and 12 years in jail, a $5,000 fine, and lose their license for up to 5 years. If an accused drunk driver kills someone in an accident, then he or she could face between eight and 30 years of imprisonment, a $25,000 fine, and up to a decade of license suspension. Those who are convicted of DUI where a child was in the vehicle at the time can face a minimum of 30 days in jail and a $1,000 fine.

The penalties for a DUI in Tennessee are serious, even when these enhancements don’t apply. However, there are often criminal defense strategies available to those accused of drunk driving crimes. It is therefore important for people charged with a DUI to know the law and how best to use it to their advantage. A skilled criminal defense attorney may be able to help with this process.

Source: FindLaw, “What are the Tennessee DUI Laws?” accessed on March 27, 2018

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