TACDL
National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
Tennessee Bar Association
National College of DUI Defense
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Tennessee Lawmakers Considering Harsher Penalties for Drunk Drivers

March 4, 2014

The penalties for driving under the influence (DUI) in Tennessee could increase dramatically if Dustin’s Law is passed. According to a WSMV news report, Dustin’s Law would allow prosecutors to pursue more serious penalties for first-time DUI offenders. Currently, the most severe punishments are reserved for those who have a prior DUI and a blood-alcohol level three times the legal limit.

There is speculation that the bill has not been passed yet because of how much it will cost the state. It would result in longer jail sentences for a number of Tennessee drivers, which according to the report, would cost the state an estimated $445,000.

The punishments for DUI are already quite severe.

  • A first-time offender with a BAC of .08 or greater faces between 48 hours and one year in jail, a yearlong license revocation, mandatory attendance in an alcohol and drug treatment program, restitution, and a fine of up to $1,500. The driver may also be required to install an ignition interlock device.
  • A first-time offender with a BAC of .20 or greater faces the same penalties but with a mandatory seven days of jail time.
  • A second-time offender faces between 45 days and one year in jail with fines of up to $3,500, a license revocation for up to two years, and attendance in an alcohol treatment program. You may also have your vehicle seized and be required to install an ignition interlock device.
  • A driver responsible for causing serious injury will face Class D felony charges punishable by up to five years of license restriction and up to 12 years in jail.
  • A driver responsible for the death of another while under the influence will face Class B felony charges punishable by up to 10 years in prison.

Whether you are a first-time offender or a repeat offender, you need to act quickly to protect your rights. Contact an experienced and knowledgeable Knoxville DUI defense lawyer who will help build a solid defense strategy to fight the charges.