TACDL
National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
Tennessee Bar Association
National College of DUI Defense
iapp
DUI Defense Lawyers Association

DUI

In Tennessee, it is unlawful to operate or be in physical control of a motor vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. If the intoxicant is alcohol, the legal limit for adults who are 21 years or older is .08%, however, the allowable BAC for persons under the age of 21 is significantly lower.

DUI cases are complex and there is a lot at stake. A successful resolution of your case relies on having a highly skilled attorney with the ability to construct an effective DUI defense. By investigating issues such as the validity of field sobriety tests and witness credibility, the criminal defense attorneys at Baker Associates will match the state’s investigative power with our own, often finding flaws and weaknesses in the government's case.

The first step is to call us and an attorney will provide a complimentary consultation and then give you a realistic assessment of the merits of your case.

DUI Convictions

In recent years, punishment for DUI convictions have become harsher. It is essential to retain a defense attorney who will defend and protect your rights with vigor and determination. Below are the likely sentences for a DUI conviction.

First Offense

A first DUI offense (DUI First) is automatically a Class A misdemeanor, which carries a maximum sentence of 11 months and 29 days. 

At a minimum, a person convicted of a DUI First must serve:

  • 48 hours in jail
  • or a minimum of 7 days in jail if the convicted person had a blood alcohol level of .20% or higher.

In addition to mandatory jail time, a DUI First is punishable by:

  • A fine of $350 to $1,500,
  • Loss of your license for one year, and
  • And you will be required to attend a mandatory drug and alcohol treatment program.
Second Offense

A second DUI offense (DUI Second) is a Class A misdemeanor with an automatic 11 month and 29 day sentence. 

A person convicted of a DUI Second must serve:

  • A minimum of 45 days in jail.

After serving jail time, the defendant will be placed on probation for the remainder of the maximum sentence for a Class A misdemeanor, which is 11 months and 29 days. For example, if Donna is found guilty of a second DUI offense, she is required to serve a minimum of 45 days in jail. Let us say the judge gives her more than the minimum and she is sentenced 60 days in jail. After Donna is released from her 60 day sentence in jail, she will be on probation for the remainder of the 11 months and 29 days.

In addition to jail and probation, a DUI Second is punishable by:

  • A fine of $600 to $3,500, and
  • Loss of your license for two years.

You may also be ordered by the court to attend mandatory drug and alcohol treatment, to forfeit your car, or use an ignition interlock device after your probation has ended.

Third Offense

A third DUI offense (DUI Third) is a Class A misdemeanor. 

A person convicted of a DUI Third must serve:

  • A minimum of 120 days in jail.

Moreover, just like a DUI Second, after the defendant serves jail time, he or she will be placed on probation for the remainder of the 11 month and 29 day sentence. 

In addition to jail and probation, a DUI Third is punishable by:

  • A fine of $1,100 to $10,000, and
  • Loss of your license for six years.

Also, just like the DUI Second, you may be ordered by the court to attend drug and alcohol treatment, to forfeit your car, or use an ignition interlock device after the probationary period has ended.

Fourth and Subsequent Offense

A fourth or subsequent DUI offense is no longer a misdemeanor, but a felony. A DUI Fourth is a Class E felony, A DUI Fifth is a Class D Felony, and A DUI Sixth or any subsequent DUI is a Class C Felony. The maximum sentence will vary depending on the felony class and the number of prior felony convictions, if any. Like a DUI Second or Third, a person convicted of a DUI Fourth or subsequent offense will be placed on probation for the remaining time between their release from jail and the end of the maximum sentence. All persons convicted under this section, regardless of the class of felony, must serve:

  • A minimum of 150 consecutive days in jail.

In addition to jail time and probation, a DUI Fourth or subsequent offense is punishable by:

  • A fine of $3,000 to $15,000 and
  • A loss of their license for a minimum of eight years.
Underage DUI

Tennessee has a carve out for people under the age of 21 who are arrested for drinking and driving. This conviction carries less severe penalties than a standard DUI, but only applies if the person is under the age of 21 years old and has a BAC of at least .02%. Unfortunately, the prosecutor has the discretion to charge the underage person with either a standard DUI or an underage DUI.

Underage drinking and driving is a Class A misdemeanor and the penalties include:

  • Loss of driver’s license for one year,
  • $250 fine, and
  • Court ordered community service.

Note that unlike a standard DUI, if an underage person loses his or her license due to an underage DUI, he or she is not eligible to receive a restricted driver's license.

If the person is under the age of 18, then the minor will appear in juvenile court and may be found delinquent (juvenile court equivalent to guilty). Even though the child will not be found guilty of a Class A misdemeanor, he or she will suffer the same penalties outlined above.

Call Baker Associates

The legal repercussions for a DUI are severe and do not even encompass the effect on your family, friends, and career. The Nashville criminal defense lawyers at Baker Associates are experienced DUI lawyers who understand the seriousness of this offense and will work tirelessly to reach the best possible outcome.