DUI Defense

Being arrested for a DUI can be a terrifying and confusing time. At the Law Office of Amanda Gentry, we understand what you are going through, and we are ready to provide support and strive to mitigate the stress through experienced representation, communication and straight-forward honesty, in order for you to get back to your normal life as soon as possible.

What is a DUI Offense?

The elements of the crime Driving Under the Influence under § 55-10-401 are:

  1. Any person driving or being in physical control of an automobile or other motor driven vehicle (including lawn mowers, ATV’s, motorcycles, scooters, or any other device driven by a motor)
  2. On a public road or highway of the State of Tennessee, or any street, alley, premises of any shopping center, trailer park, apartment complex, or any other premises which generally are frequented by the public at large.
  3. While (a) under the influence of any intoxicant, marijuana, narcotic drug, or any drug producing stimulating effects on the central nervous system, or (b) with a blood or breath alcohol concentration of 0.08% or higher.

Under Tennessee law, a DUI is a per se (“by or of itself”) offense, meaning that the statute eliminates the need for the state to prove intoxication if a person’s blood or breath alcohol level is 0.08% or higher. Thus, a person does not need to be aware or intend to drive under the influence in order to be guilty. A person will usually be indicted on two counts for a DUI if there is a breath or blood test involved. The first count will be a violation of the per se law under 3(b) as described above. The second count will be the DUI under 3(a) for impaired driving. It is possible to be found guilty of both.

How can a DUI Conviction Effect Your Life?

Why is it important to find the best Tennessee DUI attorney to fight against the charges against you? In Tennessee, a DUI conviction can never be erased from your criminal record. Thus, it will follow you for the rest of your life. A conviction on your record can affect your ability to rent an apartment, your job, and your ability to travel. For instance, you will be turned away at the boarder if you attempt to travel to Canada or certain other countries. If you are not a U.S. citizen, you may be deported. Also, even as a first-time offender you will be required to attend a mandatory alcohol safety school program as well as community service.

What is the Penalty for a DUI?

Under § 55-10-401, the penalties for driving under the influence or driving while intoxicated can be severe, including jail time, hefty fines, and a suspended driver’s license. The charges can vary depending on:

  1. First Offense:
    1. To serve not less than forty-eight (48) consecutive hours nor more than eleven (1) months and twenty-nine (29) days.
      1. If your blood alcohol concentration is 0.20% or more, a person shall serve a minimum of seven (7) consecutive days rather than forty-eight (48) hours.
    2. Fined between $350 and $1,500
    3. One (1) year driver’s license revocation. An ignition interlock device will most likely be ordered as a condition for receiving a Tennessee restricted driver’s license.
  2. Second Offense:
    1. To serve not less than forty-five (45) consecutive days nor more than eleven (11) months and twenty-nine (29) days
    2. Fined between $600 and $3,500
    3. A two (2) year driver’s license revocation.
  3. Third Offense:
    1. To serve not less than one hundred twenty (120) consecutive days nor more than eleven (11) months and twenty-nine (29) days.
    2. Fined between $1,100 and $10,000
    3. A six (6) year driver’s license revocation.
  4. Fourth or Fifth Offense:
    1. To serve not less than one hundred fifty (150) consecutive days nor more than the maximum punishment of one-year (365) days of jail time, authorized as a Class E felony.
    2. Fined between $3,000 and $15,000
  5. Sixth or More Offense:
    1. To serve not less than one hundred fifty (150) consecutive days, and not more than the maximum punishment of fifteen (15) years in a state prison, authorized as a Class C felony.
    2. Mandatory fine up to $10,000
Underage DUI

Tennessee has strict consequences for minors who drink and drive. The limit for minors is only 0.02% rather than 0.08% for adults. The penalties for underage DUI can include fines, jail time, driver’s license suspension, higher insurance rates and alcohol education programs. If you are over 18 years old, the DUI will be permanently on your criminal records. As such, colleges, future employers, landlords, and others will be able to see it when conducting a background check.