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What Are the Penalties for a First-Offense DUI in TN?

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Being charged with a DUI can be overwhelming. If you’re currently facing first-offense DUI charges, you’re most likely wondering about the potential penalties you may face if convicted. Please continue reading and reach out to our seasoned Clarksville DUI lawyers to learn more about first-offense DUI penalties in Tennessee and how our firm can help you fight them. Here are some of the questions you may have:

What Constitutes a DUI in Tennessee?

Tennessee law defines DUI by one’s inability to safely operate a motor vehicle due to the impairment by alcohol, drugs, or both. Specifically, a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08% or higher constitutes legal impairment for drivers over 21. For commercial drivers, the threshold lowers to 0.04%, and for those under 21, a BAC of 0.02% is the limit. The law, found under Tennessee Code Annotated ยง 55-10-401, establishes these BAC levels as evidence of intoxication.

What Are the Immediate Penalties for a First-Offense DUI in Tennessee?

A first DUI offense in Tennessee carries several immediate penalties. Jail time ranges from 48 hours to 11 months and 29 days, emphasizing the state’s strict stance. Fines for a first offense fall between $350 and $1,500, a financial deterrent to impaired driving. Additionally, the court may order the offender to participate in a drug and alcohol treatment program. The law mandates a one-year license revocation, significantly impacting the offender’s mobility and daily life. In certain cases, the court might require the installation of an ignition interlock device (IID) at the offender’s expense, ensuring a sober state before vehicle operation.

How Can a DUI Affect Your Future in Tennessee?

Beyond the immediate penalties, a DUI conviction carries long-term ramifications. Employment opportunities can diminish, especially in jobs requiring a clean driving record or security clearance. Insurance costs, particularly for auto insurance, often skyrocket post-conviction. Social stigma and personal relationships may also suffer, further exacerbating the offender’s challenges. Lastly, a DUI conviction remains on one’s criminal record, potentially hindering future educational and housing opportunities.

Is There a Way to Mitigate the Consequences?

Proactive steps post-arrest can sometimes mitigate the consequences. Hiring a knowledgeable Tennessee criminal defense attorney is crucial, as a competent lawyer can work to have your penalties reduced, or, in the best cases, dropped altogether. Additionally, demonstrating remorse and a commitment to rehabilitation, such as voluntarily attending alcohol education classes, can positively influence the court’s decision.

If you have further questions or require the services of a skilled criminal defense lawyer, please don’t hesitate to contact Fendley & Etson today.