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Charged with a DUI?   These are some of the penalties and consequences you might be facing. DUI penalties will differ in each case, depending on particular facts and circumstances.  This summary is intended to be general in nature, therefore, information should not be relied upon without individual consultation with a well qualified Tennessee DUI lawyer.

 

Remember, if you are in need of a Nashville DUI Attorney or other legal advice to contact us at (615) 479-0550.

 

DUI Types and Penalties:

 

Underage DUI/DWI: 

 

While often referred to as Underage Driving Under the Influence, the correct name for this offense is Underage Driving While Impaired (Underage DWI). Underage DWI applies to persons 16 years of age or over, but under age 21, and differs from the offense of Driving Under the Influence. In order to convict a person of Underage DWI, the State must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the person was:

 

(1) driving or in physical control of;

 

(2) a motor driven vehicle;

 

(3) while:

 

(a) under the influence of alcohol or drugs;

 

(b) under the combined influence of alcohol and any other drug; or

 

(c) with a blood alcohol content of .02% or higher.

 

Thus a person under the age of 21 is legally considered to be impaired "per se" (automatically) if their blood alcohol level meets or exceeds .02%.  This holds true even if the other evidence does not indicate the person's ability to drive is actually impaired.  A person can also be convicted of Underage DWI for operating a vehicle while under the influence of a drug, even if it was prescribed by a physician.  Further, a person under the age of 21 can be charged with Driving Under the Influence (DUI/DWI) instead of Underage DWI, but cannot be charged with both DUI and Underage DWI.

 

Additionally, a person under the age of 21 may be charged with an Implied Consent Violation if he or she refuses to submit to a chemical test to determine the alcohol or drug content of the person's blood.  

 

Penalties: 

 

Upon conviction for Underage Driving While Impaired (Underage DWI), a person is subject to the following penalties:

 

For persons ages 16 to 18, the Offense of Underage DWI is a Delinquent Act (a Juvenile Court proceeding) and is punishable only by a one year driver's license suspension and a fine of $250.00.  The court may also impose public service work and court costs.

 

For persons ages 18 to 21, the Offense of Underage DWI is a Class A Misdemeanor, punishable only by a one year driver's license suspension and a fine of $250.00.  In this circumstance, the defendant is not eligible for a restricted driver's license or hardship license, unlike someone convicted of "Adult" Driving Under the Influence (DUI). The court may also impose public service work and court costs, but may not sentence the person to jail.

 

License revocation for one year may also required when a defendant is found to have refused to submit to a chemical (blood, breath, or urine) test after being lawfully requested to do so. This Implied Consent Violation may apply even where the defendant is not convicted of DUI.

 

In addition to the penalties imposed by the court, a person convicted of Underage DWI will likely face additional consequences. 

 

1st Time DUI Offender - 0.08 (BAC) [55-10-401] [55-10-403]:

 

  • 48 hours up to 11 months, 29 days for offenders in violation of Tenn Code Ann. Section 55-10-401;

  • 0.20 BAC or greater minimum jail time 7 consecutive days;

  • License revocation for 1 year with ignition interlock required;

  • You will be ordered to participate in a DUI school;

  • Pay restitution to any person suffering physical injury or personal loss;

  • $350 - $1,500 fine;

  • With towing, bail, attorney, high risk insurance, court costs, school, and reinstatement fees, your first offense average costs could add up to thousands of dollars;

  • Judge can order you to install a vehicle Ignition Interlock Device at your expense. Minimum 1st year cost $810 [55-10-412d];

  • If two (2) convictions of DUI in 5 years, Ignition Interlock Device required for 6 months after reinstatement at your expense; and

  • Drug and Alcohol Treatment may be required at the judge’s discretion.

2nd Time DUI Offender:

 

  • 45 days to 11 months, 29 days in jail;

  • $600 - $3,500 mandatory fine;

  • License revocation for 2 years/Restricted License available;

  • Subject to vehicle seizure/forfeiture;

  • You will be ordered to attend a DUI school;

  • The judge wil order you to install a vehicle Ignition Interlock Device at your expense;

  • If two (2) convictions of DUI in 5 years, Ignition Interlock Device required for 6 months after reinstatement at your expense; and

  • Pay restitution to any person suffering personal injury or loss.

3rd Time DUI Offender:

 

  • 120 days to 11 months, 29 days in jail;

  • $1,100 - $10,000 mandatory fines;

  • License revocation for 3-10 years/NO restricted license available;

  • Subject to vehicle seizure/forfeit;

  • DUI school;

  • Judge will order an Ignition Interlock Device installed at your expense; and

  • If two (2) convictions of DUI in 5 years, Ignition Interlock Device required for 6 months after reinstatement at your expense.

4th and Subsequent DUI Offender:

 

  • Class E Felony;

  • 1 Year (365) days of jail time with a minimum of 150 consecutive days served;

  • $3,000 - $15,000 mandatory fine;

  • License revocation for 8 years/NO restricted license available;

  • Subject to vehicle seizure/forfeit;

  • DUI school;

  • Judge will order an Ignition Interlock Device installed at your expense; and

  • If two (2) convictions of DUI in 5 years, Ignition Interlock Device required for 6 months after reinstatement at your expense.

Vehicular Assault – Serious injury to another person by a DUI driver:

 

  • Class D Felony [39-13-106];

  • License revocation from 1 to 5 years according to prior offenses;

  • Jail time 2 to 12 years according to range [40-35-112]; 

  • Plus fines and court costs.

Child Endangerment – DUI with passenger under 13 years old:

 

  • Class D felony if child suffers serious injury [55-10-403] [40-35-112];

  • 2 to 4 years jail time;

  • Class C Felony if child death involved;

  • 3 to 6 years jail time;

  • License revocation.

Vehicular Homicide:

 

  • Class B Felony [39-13-213] [40-35-112];

  • Fatal crash caused by DUI with 0.08 BAC or more;

  • License revocation for 3-10 years/NO restricted license available.

Aggravated Vehicular Assault While Driving Intoxicated:

 

  • Class A Felony [39-13-218] [40-35-112];

  • If any of the following conditions are present: Two or more prior (a) DUI conviction, (b) Vehicular assault convictions or, (c) any combination;

  • One prior Vehicular Homicide;

  • A BAC of 0.20 or greater at the time of the vehicular homicide has (1) one prior DUI or Vehicular Assault offense.

 

This outline may also be found at TN.Gov

 

 

DUI penalties differ from case to case, and the outcome can depend on the facts and circumstances of the case.  This summary is general in nature and should not be relied upon without individual consultation of a well qualified DUI attorney.

 

In addition to fines, court costs and penalties imposed as a result of a DUI/DWI conviction, you may also face serious additional consequences.  Some commercial car rental agencies will not rent a vehicle to someone who has been convicted of a DUI, your car insur- ance premiums will like increase heavily or may even be cancelled.

 

A DUI conviction may have a negative affect on the status of a person's professional license (i.e. Doctor, Veterinarian, Lawyer, Nurse, Stock Broker, or Airline Pilot) and may affect one's ability to obtain employment in the future.

 

Additionally, a DUI conviction may also affect one's ability to travel out of the United States. Canada and many other countries have strict laws regarding the admission of individuals who have been convicted of DUI.

 

Finally, there may be consequences to the person charged with DUI/DWI which are dependent upon the facts of the case and the individual's circumstances.  

 

Therefore, it is important to consult an experienced and knowledgeable Nashville DUI lawyer as soon as possible after arrest. 

 

Call Kurt at (615) 415-0542 for additional information or to set-up a time to meet for a free, no-cost, no-obligation meeting today.

DUI By Consent:

 

Tennessee DUI law provides that an owner or passenger of a vehicle may be held criminally liable for the actions of another person who commits the offenses of DUI, vehicular homicide, or related Tennessee crimes.  This means that an owner or passenger may be found guilty of a Tennessee DUI offense when the driver is found guilty of Tennessee Driving Under the Influence.  This crime is most commonly referred to as “DUI By Consent.”

 

A passenger or owner of a vehicle may be found guilty of DUI under Tennessee law even if the passenger or owner never drives.  As a result, two or more people in the same car may be arrested and charged with Driving Under the Influence, even if only one person drove or operated the vehicle.  In certain circumstances, a person can be charged and convicted of DUI by Consent even if he or she is not present in the vehicle at the time of the driver’s arrest.

 

Penalties:

 

If convicted of DUI by Consent, the passenger or owner is subject to the penalties of a DUI conviction. 

 

If the driver is a multiple offender, or if the passenger or owner has prior DUI convictions, unique issues may arise as to which penalties apply. 

 

 

 

 

Related Crimes:

 

The same knowledge and skill involved in defending those accused with a Tennessee Driving Under the Influence (DUI/DWI) charge may also be applied in the defense of similar crimes.  The basis of these related crimes often involve driving, motor vehicles, alcohol, and/or prescribed and illegal drugs.

 

Although not intended to be a complete list, many of these DUI-related Tennessee criminal offenses are listed in alphabetical order and briefly discussed below. The criminal offense descriptions and penalties are intended only as a general summary and should not be relied upon without individual consultation with a well-qualified Tennessee criminal defense attorney.

 

Boating Under the Influence (BUI): 

 

With an abundance of waterways in the Nashville, Tennessee area and across the state, Boating Under the Influence charges are commonly found in Tennessee courts.  

 

A person may be convicted of a Tennessee Boating Under the Influence offense (BUI) if operating or in physical control of a boat or other water vessel either while under the influence of any intoxicant or while the person’s blood alcohol content is .08% or more.

 

Depending upon the facts and circumstance of the case, a person may be required to serve up to 11 months, 29 days in jail if convicted of a Tennessee BUI offense and may also be fined an amount ranging from $250.00 to $5,000.00.  Once convicted, the person may also be prohibited from operating any boat (vessel) for a period of 1 to 10 years.

 

Boating Implied Consent Violation: 

 

Much like a Tennessee Implied Consent Violation, a Tennessee Boating Implied Consent Violation is often also referred to as a Chemical Test Refusal charge.  If arrested for a Tennessee BUI charge, a person who refuses to take a chemical test (blood, breath or urine) to determine the alcohol or drug content of her blood may also be charged with a violation of the Boating Implied Consent law.  Violation of this law requires the suspension of operating privileges for a period of 6 months in Tennessee.

 

Child Endangerment: 

 

Any person who violates the Tennessee DUI law and who, at the time of the DUI violation, is accompanied by a child under the age of 18, is subjected to serious increased penalties.  Depending upon the facts of the case, such penalties may range from a mandatory jail sentence of 30 days and a mandatory fine of $1,000.00 to a possible prison sentence if the child suffers either serious bodily injury or death.  All other mandatory Tennessee DUI penalties also apply if convicted.  Although often referred to as a “Child Endangerment” charge in Tennessee, in reality, this offense will typically be charged as Driving Under the Influence (DUI), Vehicular Assault, or Vehicular Homicide.

 

Commercial Motor Vehicle (CMV) DUI: 

 

If a driver with a Commercial Motor Vehicle Driver’s License (CDL) is charged with Driving Under the Influence (DUI/DWI) while operating a Commercial Motor Vehicle, both the requirements for conviction and the associated penalties differ from a Tennessee DUI offense committed in a Non-Commercial Motor Vehicle.  Moreover, the CDL driver is subjected to much more severe consequences than a non-CDL driver.  Both the Tennessee offense of CMV Driving Under the Influence and the accompanying penalties are discussed in more detail here.

 

Commercial Motor Vehicle (CMV) Traffic Offenses: 

 

Drivers of Commercial Motor Vehicles (CMV) are subject to additional traffic violations not faced by non-commercial operators (such as logbook violations, weight-restriction violations, etc.). Additionally,  CMV drivers, those holding a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL), may face harsher penalties if convicted of certain traffic offenses. 

 

Driving on a Revoked, Suspended, or Cancelled License: 

 

A person’s Tennessee driver’s license may be revoked, suspended or cancelled for a number of reasons, including, but not limited to, a Tennessee DUI conviction, failure to pay a traffic ticket or citation, a conviction for failure to have insurance on a vehicle (also known as a violation of the Tennessee Financial Responsibility law), or an accumulation of too many points on a person’s Tennessee driving history.  The penalties associated with a Tennessee Driving on Revoked, Suspended, or Cancelled License will depend upon the underlying reason for revocation, suspension or cancellation, as well as other facts and circumstances unique to the case, but in some cases will require a mandatory jail sentence.  As serious as the jail time and fines are, punishment for this conviction may also include loss of driving privileges for an additional period of time—usually with no opportunity for a restricted license or hardship license.

 

Evading Arrest: 

 

The Tennessee offense of Evading Arrest may be classified as either a misdemeanor or a felony, depending upon the facts of the case.  Essentially, this offense prohibits a person from intentionally fleeing by means of locomotion from anyone the person knows to be a law enforcement officer.  The person must also either: (1) know that the officer is attempting to arrest him, or (2) have already been arrested by the Tennessee law enforcement officer.

 

Forfeiture of Vehicle: 

 

Under certain circumstances, a defendant in Tennessee may face the involuntary loss of a vehicle through state forfeiture - this is a civil procedure.

 

For instance, the Tennessee Department of Safety is authorized to seize and hold for forfeiture any vehicle involved in the commission of a second or subsequent Driving Under the Influence offense. Many other offenses may also trigger the forfeiture of a vehicle. The vehicle is not always seized by the State of Tennessee at the time of arrest. Therefore, it is imperative to discuss the possibility of the seizure and forfeiture of your vehicle with a knowledgeable Tennessee criminal defense attorney as soon as possible following your arrest to learn your rights and how to protect your property.

 

The laws and procedures governing Tennessee forfeitures are complex and require that very specific procedures be followed within a strict time frame.  Because of these intricacies of the Tennessee forfeiture law, the protection and retention of your property can only be gained if you act immediately following your arrest and/or seizure of your vehicle.

 

Implied Consent Violation: 

 

A Tennessee Implied Consent Violation is often also commonly referred to as a Chemical Test Refusal charge.

 

If arrested for a Tennessee DUI charge, a person who refuses to take a chemical test (blood, breath or urine) to determine the alcohol or drug content of her blood may also be charged with a violation of the Tennessee Implied Consent law.  This refusal can also come from any other repsonse other than a "yes" to  the request.

 

Open Container: 

 

A Tennessee Open Container Violation is classified as a Class C Misdemeanor and is punishable by a fine only.

 

This offense prohibits a driver of a motor vehicle from possessing or consuming any open container of an alcoholic beverage while operating a motor vehicle in Tennessee.  

 

*Interestingly, it is not a crime in Tennessee for a passenger to be in possession or to consume an alcoholic beverage.  However, an individual county, city, or municipality may enact an ordinance that prohibits a passenger from consuming or possessing an open container while the driver is operating the vehicle.

 

Possession of a Handgun While Under the Influence: 

 

Tennessee law prohibits the Possession of a Handgun While Under the Influence of an intoxicant.  This offense may necessarily accompany a charge for a Tennessee DUI/DWI or a Tennessee Public Intoxication charge, for which one may also be convicted.  In addition to common criminal penalties such as jail time and fines, a conviction for Possession of a Handgun While Under the Influence may also result in the mandatory surrender of a person’s handgun carry permit and, in some instances, the weapon itself.

 

If charged with a Tennessee Possession of a Handgun While Under the Influence charge, you should consult a knowledgeable Tennessee DUI Defense attorney immediately to determine how this charge may impact your right to bear arms.

 

Public Intoxication: 

 

Tennessee’s Public Intoxication offense is classified as a Class C misdemeanor.  This means it is punishable by up to 30 days in jail and/or a fine of up to $50.00.  Simply being under the influence of alcohol or another intoxicant while in public is not, in and of itself, enough to violate the Public Intoxication law.

 

A Tennessee lawyer knowledgeable in drug and alcohol offenses can further explain what the State of Tennessee is required to prove for a conviction of this offense and explore whether you have a defense to a Public Intoxication charge.

 

Reckless Driving: 

 

Although many people often associate a Tennessee Reckless Driving charge with the offense of Driving Under the Influence, these are, in fact, very distinct crimes.  Any person who operates a vehicle with a willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property is guilty of Reckless Driving.  A person may also be charged with a Tennessee Reckless Driving offense when operating a motorcycle in a certain manner or when driving into a flooded area when certain circumstances are present.

 

In Tennessee, Reckless Driving is classified as a Class B misdemeanor, carrying up to 6 months in jail and/or a fine of up to $500.00.  A Reckless Driving conviction, which will result in an assessment of 8 points on your Tennessee Driving Record, may also cause increased insurance premiums and other consequences.

 

Reckless Endangerment: 

 

A Reckless Endangerment offense in Tennessee may be classified as either a misdemeanor or a felony charge, depending on the individual facts and circumstances of the case.  A person commits the offense of Reckless Endangerment when he recklessly engages in conduct that places or may place another in imminent danger of death or serious bodily injury.  

 

Because a Tennessee Reckless Endangerment charge could be classified as a felony, especially when involving a motor vehicle, and subject an offender to up to 6 years in jail and/or a fine not to exceed $3,000.00, it is important to consult with a Tennessee criminal defense attorney immediately after being charged with this offense.

 

Simple Possession of a Controlled Substance: 

 

Tennessee law prohibits a person from knowingly possessing or exchanging a controlled substance (i.e. marijuana). This offense is typically referred to as Simple Possession of a Controlled Substance and often accompanies a Driving Under the Influence (DUI/DWI) charge.

 

Although Simple Possession is most often classified as a misdemeanor offense, it may, under certain circumstances, be considered a felony offense in Tennessee. Upon conviction, a person may also be subject to a mandatory fine, the amount of which is dependent upon which controlled substance was in his or her possession.

 

Traffic Offenses/Citations: 

 

Most Tennessee Driving Under the Influence arrests begin with an officer stopping the person for a traffic violation.  Accordingly, if arrested for DUI, you may also be given a State of Tennessee Traffic Citation or a Municipal Ordinance Citation for a traffic violation such as Speeding, Following Too Closely, Failure to Yield, Failure to Maintain Lane Lines, or Failure to Obey a Traffic Control Device (Stop Sign or Red-Light Violation). 

 

Underage Consumption of Alcohol: 

 

Several different laws in Tennessee prohibit the Underage Consumption of Alcohol, also commonly referred to as Underage Possession of Alcohol or Minor in Possession of Alcohol. This offense prohibits a person under the age of 21 from possessing or consuming an alcoholic beverage. However, certain exceptions to the Underage Consumption of Alcohol/Underage Possession of Alcohol charge do exist and should be explored with your Tennessee criminal defense or DUI attorney.

 

Underage Driving While Impaired (DWI or UDWI): 

 

The offense of Underage Driving While Impaired applies to drivers who are 16 years of age or older, but under the age of 21.  Interestingly, a motorist who is between the ages of 18 and 21 may be charged with either Underage DWI or the “adult” offense of Driving Under the Influence.

 

The offense of Underage Driving While Impaired prohibits a person from driving or operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs or with a blood alcohol level of .02%. The penalties for an Underage DWI conviction are dependant upon the person’s age and in which court they have been charged (Juvenile Court System or the Tennessee Criminal Court Adult System). A well-qualified Tennessee DUI attorney will be able to outline the penalties required by law, as well as other consequences that may follow an UDWI conviction.

 

Underage Possession of Alcohol: 

 

See Underage Consumption of Alcohol above.

 

Vehicular Assault: 

 

In Tennessee a person may be charged with Vehicular Assault if he commits the offense of Driving Under the Influence (DUI/DWI) and as a proximate result of the person’s intoxication, also recklessly causes serious bodily injury to another person.  The offense of Vehicular Assault is classified as Class D felony, carrying up to 12 years in jail and/or a fine of up to $5,000.00. Certain other consequences follow a conviction of Vehicular Assault, such as loss of driver’s license, and should be discussed in greater detail with your Tennessee DUI attorney.

 

Call Kurt today for information on any of these issues or to set up a free, no-obligation case consultation at (615) 479-0550.