What are the Penalties for Multiple DUI’s in Tennessee?

Tennessee law considers driving under the influence (DUI) a serious offense and being convicted could have severe consequences. A single DUI could mean mandatory jail time, fines, and a one-year license suspension. Repeat or multiple DUI charges will undoubtedly raise the stakes.

In some cases, your insurance rates may increase significantly, and various collateral consequences may create problems for you in the future. Nash Law offers personalized legal representation from skilled DUI defense lawyers in Nashville to protect your rights and future.

Our team will assess every aspect of your case, from the time of the traffic stop to the arrest, discuss your options, and keep you up to speed with the status of your case, as we fight to dismiss or reduce the DUI charges brought against you.

Tennessee DUI Laws

According to Tennessee law, a person is prohibited from driving or being in active control of the vehicle under these conditions:

  • The person has a BAC (blood alcohol concentration) of .08% or higher.
  • The driver of a commercial vehicle with a .04% BAC or more
  • The person is intoxicated or under the influence of any controlled substance, including marijuana or substances affecting the central nervous system.

The law defines “being under the influence” as being impaired to an extent such that the person’s ability to operate a motor vehicle is affected. If your BAC level is .08% or higher at the time of the arrest, you can be convicted of a “per se DUI”, where the state automatically assumes you’re drunk, no matter your level of impairment. A higher BAC of more than .20% could attract enhanced penalties.

Tennessee has a zero-tolerance policy for children and young adults under the age of 21 years. If a person under the age of 21 is caught driving with a BAC of .02%, they can be charged with a DUI, even if they are not drunk.

What are the Penalties for Multiple DUI’s in Tennessee?

The penalties for DUI in Tennessee vary based on the circumstances surrounding the arrest, one of which being the number of times someone has been convicted of a DUI in the state. All information below was pulled from Tennessee’s Department of Safety & Homeland Security DUI Outline, found here.

First-time offense

For individuals facing a first DUI offense, the penalties can be quite harsh in Tennessee. First-time DUI convictions attract a fine ranging from $350 to $500 depending on the case. The offender may also face a minimum of 48 hours and up to 11 months and 29 days in jail.

The court may also mandate participation in alcohol and substance abuse treatment programs, community services, or even the installation of an ignition interlock device on their vehicle. A first-time conviction for DUI in Tennessee may also have the offender’s driving license suspended for a minimum of one year.

If the offender has a minor in the vehicle at the time of the offense, the minimum jail sentence is increased by 30 days.

Second-time offense

A second-time offense comes with a minimum of 45 days in jail and a maximum of 11 months and 20 days of jail time. There’s also a mandatory fine of $600 to $3,500, and the license is suspended for two years.

Once you get your license back, the court may mandate that an ignition interlock device be installed in your vehicle at your expense. You may also be required to attend substance abuse treatment programs, do probation, or community service.

If you had a minor in the vehicle at the time of the arrest, the minimum sentence rises by 30 days. Additionally, your vehicle starts becoming eligible for seizure by the court starting at the second DUI.

Third-time offense

A third-time DUI conviction carries a minimum of 120 days jail time with a maximum of 11 months and 29 days in jail. There’s also a mandatory fine ranging from $1,100 to $10,000 and a license suspension for 6 to 10 years, with no possibility of getting a restricted license.

Your vehicle may also be seized by the court, and you may be mandated to install an Ignition Interlock Device (IID) and attend substance abuse treatment programs.

If you had a minor in the car during the time of the arrest, the judge will add 30 days to the mandatory jail time, which adds up to 150 days in total.

Fourth and subsequent offenses

If you have three or more prior DUI convictions within 10 years, the next DUI charge becomes a Class E felony charge. If convicted of a 4th DUI, you will be looking at a minimum of 150 days to 6 years in jail and fines not exceeding $3,000.

A 5th DUI is a Class D felony. This means that if convicted, you are looking at up to 12 years’ jail time and fines not exceeding $5,000.

A 6th or subsequent DUI is a Class C felony. If convicted, you will be looking at up to 15 years of jail time and fines not exceeding $10,000.

It’s worth noting that the specific factors of your DUI case will increase or mitigate the penalties or even make you eligible for alternative sentencing options. For instance, many second-time DUI offenders might qualify for alternative sentencing with probation and substance abuse treatment programs instead of incarceration.

Consult an Experienced DUI Defense Lawyer in Nashville Today

Multiple DUI convictions carry serious penalties that could affect your life for a long time. The DUI defense lawyers at Nash Law are experienced in handling DUI cases in Tennessee and are ready to help you defend your case and minimize the impact of your DUI arrest.

Contact us today at 615-NASH-LAW to schedule a free consultation with our team.

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