If you are facing DUI charges, do not feel overwhelmed by the legal process. An experienced Nashville DUI attorney can help you build a compelling case for mitigated or even dismissed charges, and you might even be able to obtain a restricted license during a period of license suspension. Attorney Amanda J. Gentry will look at the facts of your case to determine your possible outcomes. She is not just talk, but also action; she will provide you honest, to-the-point feedback and guide you efficiently through the process from beginning to end. You can expect an assertive and tenacious representative when you work with Attorney Gentry, and she will not let you fall to a DUI without a fight.
In Tennessee, it is illegal for a person to drive or be in actual physical control of a vehicle while:
- the person has a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08% or greater (.04% or more for commercial drivers); or
- the person is under the influence of any intoxicant, marijuana, controlled substance, controlled substance analog, drug, or substance affecting the central nervous system.
Note that in the context of Tennessee law, being "under the influence" means being impaired to an extent that affects the driver's ability to safely operate a motor vehicle.
Penalties and Sentencing For Drunk Driving in Tennessee
A DUI conviction could lead to jail time and fines, as well as certain periods of license suspension. The specific sentence will largely depend on the severity of the offense and whether the defendant has been previously convicted of a DUI:
- 1st offense – up to 11 months and 29 days in prison (48-hour minimum with BAC of .08% or 7-day minimum with BAC of .20%); $250-$1,500 in fines; 1-year license suspension
- 2nd offense – 11 months and 29 days in prison (45-day minimum); $600-$3,500 in fines; 2-year license suspension
- 3rd offense – 11 months and 29 days in prison (120-day minimum); $1,100-$10,000 in fines; 6-year license suspension
Note that judges may allow certain offenders to serve a jail sentence with work-release, which permits them to continue employment but return to the jail after work each evening.
Additionally, provided the offender serves the minimum jail sentence, the judge may decide to suspend the remainder of any jail time and order probation instead. DUI probation usually includes completing a substance abuse assessment and following any further recommendations. In serious cases, judges may also order the forfeiture of any vehicle used in the commission of the DUI offense.
For first-time offenders, judges may issue a temporary restricted license during the offender’s suspension period. This license permits the defendant to drive for essential purposes, such as travel to work, school, or treatment. Drivers will likely be required to install an ignition interlock device (IID) to obtain a restricted license.
Tennessee Implied Consent Law
Like many states, Tennessee also has "implied consent" laws that require all drivers lawfully arrested for a DUI to submit to a breath test. Be aware that the officer may request a blood or breath test, but only a breath test is required without a warrant. Unlawful refusal could result in a 1-year suspension for a first offense and a 2-year suspension for a second offense within the last 10 years.
Arrested for drunk driving? Talk to our Nashville DUI lawyer about your case today!
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