Imagine driving home from a weekend barbeque at your parents' home. Dad manned the pit while you and your brothers played horseshoes and had a few beers. When you left, you did not feel too intoxicated to drive, so you did not worry about getting a driving under the influence (DUI) while on your way home. That changed when an officer pulled you over and asked you to step out of the car.
Like many other states, Tennessee has some rather severe consequences for those that have DUI convictions. If you are facing a DUI charge, it is important to remember that you still have rights and options when it comes to defending yourself. Read further to find out more about DUI laws in Tennessee.
In Tennessee, you can receive a DUI if your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is 0.08 percent or higher. However, it is possible to get a DUI if your BAC is lower than the legal limit. An officer might also charge you with a DUI if you do not agree to take a blood alcohol test at the time of your arrest.
If you are driving in Tennessee, you are implying that you give your consent to take a chemical test if a police officer demands it. If you refuse to submit to a test, you risk automatically losing your license. The first time you refuse a test, you can lose your license for one year. The second refusal will get you a two-year suspension. If you have a car accident that injured someone due to driving under the influence, you will lose your license for two years. If the crash results in a death, you will lose your license for five years.
Like with many crimes, the severity of your offense will dictate your punishment. For example, if an officer stops you before there is an accident, the penalties will be much less severe than if you have a wreck and someone is hurt or killed. In general, a first-offense will get you 48 hours to almost 12 months in jail. You could also pay fines ranging from $350 to $1,500 plus additional court fees of approximately $5,000. The state will also suspend your license for one year. Second and third offenses will carry larger fines and more jail time as well as other penalties. The court will treat a fourth offense as a Class E felony.
If you are facing a DUI charge in Tennessee, keep in mind that you will have the chance to fight the charges in court.