Tennessee's DUI laws are harsh on first-time offenders

Tennessee has many DUI laws that could affect your case if you're caught driving drunk, drinking in a parked vehicle or even driving with an open container in your vehicle. Tennessee's laws are harsh, because the state does not want to see drivers intoxicated on its roadways.

Tennessee, much like other states, does have a per se blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit. In Tennessee, you're considered to be legally drunk when your BAC reaches .08 percent. Having a BAC of .20 percent or higher could lead to enhanced penalties like additional fines or longer jail sentences.

First-time offenders do have mandatory jail sentences. The minimum Tennessee law allows is for 48 hours in jail. If your BAC was .20 percent or higher, the minimum time you'll spend in jail is one week. A first-offense DUI can lead to up to 11 months and 29 days in jail, however, depending on the circumstances of your case. On top of this, you may be ordered to pay a fine of up to $1,500 and could lose your license for one year. Tennessee law requires you to go to a drug and alcohol treatment program.

In the case that you hurt or kill another person, you face a felony charge. You could end up in prison for up to 12 years and lose your license for up to five years. In addition, fines are as much as $5,000.

The fortunate thing is that there are many defenses to drunk driving. A good defense will make a difference in your case and can help you protect your right to drive.

Source: FindLaw, "What Are the Tennessee DUI Laws?," accessed April 12, 2018

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