If you’ve been charged with a DUI in Tennessee, you need the assistance of an experienced Lebanon DUI defense lawyer. An attorney can protect your rights, talk you through your options, and work towards the best possible outcome for your case. With the help of our team at Nash Law, your charges may be reduced or dismissed. Speak with an experienced Lebanon criminal defense attorney at 615-627-4529 to find out more about your options today. There is no cost for a consultation.
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What Is the BAC (Blood Alcohol Content) Limit in Tennessee?
The legal BAC in Tennessee is .08, which is also the national legal limit. When driving a commercial vehicle, drivers must stay below a .04 BAC limit. For underage drivers, any alcohol consumption is enough for a DUI charge, even if it is well below the legal limit.
A driver’s BAC can be measured via blood, urine, or breathalyzer tests. While breathalyzer devices are portable and deliver fast results, they are prone to inaccuracies, which means they can be challenged in court. Blood tests, which are administered by medical professionals, are more accurate and are able to detect both drugs and alcohol.
What Penalties Can I Face for a DUI in Tennessee?
The penalties for a DUI become more severe with each subsequent offense. Furthermore, Tennessee has mandatory jail time for everyone convicted of a DUI, even first-time offenders. Penalties and sentences for a conviction include:
For first offenses, there is a minimum jail sentence of 48 hours, with a maximum sentence of 11 months and 29 days. If drivers have a BAC at or above .20, the minimum sentence is 7 days. Fines range from $350 to $1,000. Offenders may also have their license revoked for up to one year. Other potential penalties include a mandatory Ignition Interlock Device (IID), drug and alcohol programs, or victim impact panels.
The minimum jail sentence for offenders is 45 days, with a maximum sentence of 11 months and 29 days. Fines range from $600 to $3,500, and the offender’s license can be revoked for up to 2 years. Drivers are also required to have an IID installed on their vehicle.
There is a minimum sentence of 120 days in jail, with a maximum sentence of one year. Fines are mandatory and range from $1,100 to $10,000. Licenses can be revoked for 6 to 10 years, and restricted licenses are not available. An IID is also mandatory.
Fourth or Fifth Offense
These offenses are a Class E Felony, with a minimum jail sentence of 150 days. Offenders face up to 6 years of jail time. There are mandatory fines ranging from $3,000 to $15,000, and licenses will be revoked for eight or more years. Restricted licenses are not available and IIDs are mandatory.
This is a Class C Felony with a minimum sentence of 150 days in jail. Offenders face up to 15 years of jail time. Mandatory fines range from $3,000 to $15,000. Licenses will be revoked for 8 or more years, with no option for a restricted license. IIDs are mandatory.
In addition to these penalties, offenders may be required to wear an alcohol monitoring device. Other potential penalties include vehicle forfeiture, mandatory inpatient rehabilitation, and special assessment fees. A DUI conviction has serious consequences, which is why any driver charged with a DUI should consult with an experienced Lebanon DUI defense lawyer.
Can I Refuse a Breathalyzer Test in Tennessee?
Tennessee has implied consent laws, which means drivers are consenting to a BAC test when they are on the road. If you do refuse a breathalyzer test, you could be subject to civil penalties, such as a license suspension of up to one year. If you have a DUI conviction, your license could be suspended for up to two years. Drivers face a five-year license suspension for accidents that result in severe bodily harm or death. Under certain circumstances, refusal could also be classified as a Class A Misdemeanor.
With that said, drivers have the right to refuse blood testing during a DUI stop or arrest. In most cases, drivers cannot be forced to take a blood test without a search warrant. However, if a driver has a prior DUI conviction, or if they are involved in an accident that resulted in injury or death, drivers may be compelled to submit to a test.
What Is a Felony DUI in Tennessee?
Tennessee has strict penalties for DUI offenses, especially if the offense results in a felony conviction. DUIs are classified as a felony if the driver:
- Has three or more previous DUI convictions
- Caused significant property damage
- Caused an accident that resulted in severe injury or death
- Injured or killed a passenger under the age of 13
Consequences for a felony DUI conviction include mandatory fines and jail time, license suspension, potential vehicle seizure, and alcohol or drug treatment. Furthermore, having a felony on your record can make it more difficult for you to find employment or housing in the future. If you’re facing a felony DUI charge in Tennessee, an experienced attorney could help you to get your charges reduced.
Common Defenses in DUI Cases
DUI charges don’t always result in convictions. A skilled lawyer can build a defense that can reduce the penalties you’re facing or help you to avoid them entirely. One of the most common types of defenses in DUI cases is lack of probable cause for a stop. Officers in Tennessee must have reasonable suspicion for traffic stops.
The accuracy of your BAC can also be called into question. There are many factors that can impact the accuracy of a breathalyzer test, including over-the-counter medications that contain alcohol, mouthwash, albuterol inhalers, and acid reflux. Nash Law can evaluate your case and look for substances or circumstances that may have influenced your BAC test.
Call Our Lebanon DUI Defense Lawyers for Help Today
Tennessee DUI convictions carry harsh penalties that can impact you for the rest of your life. Not only will you be subject to mandatory fines and jail time, but you could lose your license and even your vehicle. When you have legal representation, your case will have a better outcome. You may even be able to avoid conviction entirely.
If you’ve been charged with a DUI in Tennessee, you’re facing life-altering penalties and consequences. You need a dedicated Lebanon DUI defense lawyer that can talk you through your options and help you find the best course of action. Call Nash Law at 615-627-4529 today for a free case assessment.