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Top DUI Lawyers in Tennessee

Finding A DUI Lawyer in Tennessee

Driving under the influence (DUI) is a serious offense in Tennessee, and anyone caught driving while intoxicated can face significant penalties including legal, financial, and personal consequences. If you or a loved one has been arrested for a DUI, then getting one of the best DUI lawyers in Tennessee is crucial.

Even though Tennessee has strict DUI penalties, drunk driving continues to be a significant issue in Tennessee. In this article, we will explore the penalties for a DUI arrest and discuss how getting a Tennessee DUI lawyer can help you beat a DUI charge.

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Legal Definition of a DUI in Tennessee

The legal definition of a DUI in Tennessee is encapsulated in the Tennessee Code 55-10-401. This Tennessee legal code focuses on the operation of a motor vehicle under the influence of intoxicants that impair the driver’s ability to safely operate a motor vehicle.

DUI is an inclusive term and a DUI can involve more than just alcohol. This code takes into account many different substances and factors, including:

  1. Alcohol Influence: It is illegal to drive or be in physical control of an automobile or other motor-driven vehicle in Tennessee while under the influence of any intoxicant, specifically alcohol, to the extent that it impairs the driver’s ability to safely operate the vehicle. The legal Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) limit is 0.08% for drivers over the age of 21.
  2. Drug Influence: The law also prohibits driving under the influence of any drug.  This includes prescription medications, over-the-counter drugs, and illegal substances, that impairs the driver’s ability to safely operate a vehicle.
  3. Combination of Alcohol and Drugs: Operating a vehicle while under the combined influence of alcohol, drugs, or both that impairs the driver’s ability to safely control the vehicle is also considered a DUI in Tennessee.
  4. Per Se DUI: Tennessee’s DUI law operates on a ‘per se’ basis for alcohol, meaning that a driver with a BAC at or above 0.08% is automatically considered to be driving under the influence, regardless of actual impairment.
  5. Implied Consent Law: Under Tennessee implied consent law, drivers in Tennessee have implicitly agreed to submit to chemical testing by driving. This includes breath tests, blood tests, or urine tests for alcohol or drugs if a law enforcement officer has reasonable grounds to believe the driver is under the influence. Refusal to submit to these tests can result in automatic license suspension and other penalties.
  6. Zero Tolerance for Minors: For drivers under the age of 21, the BAC limit is 0.02%, reflecting a stricter stance against underage drinking and driving.
  7. Commercial Drivers: For those holding a commercial driver’s license (CDL), the BAC limit is set at a lower threshold of 0.04%, acknowledging the higher responsibility associated with operating commercial vehicles.

DUI Arrests in Tennessee

Tennessee DUI Attorney

According to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, there were 19,592 drunk driving arrests in Tennessee in 2021. This number represents a slight increase from 2020 when there were 18,344 DUI arrests. However, the number of DUI arrests in Tennessee has remained relatively consistent over the past few years. In 2019, there were 19,592 DUI arrests, and in 2018, there were 20,218 DUI arrests.

These statistics indicate that DUI charges continue to be a significant issue in Tennessee. The consequences of DUI cases can be severe, including fines, license suspension, and a criminal record. Additionally, a DUI conviction can have long-lasting effects on your personal and professional life, including difficulty finding employment and increased insurance premiums.

If you’ve been charged with a DUI in Tennessee, it is critical to find one of the top-rated DUI lawyers in Tennessee to beat a DUI charge. That’s the entire purpose of this site; to help you find the best Tennessee DUI attorney for your specific DUI case.

Penalties for A DUI in Tennessee

If you receive a criminal charge for a DUI in Tennessee, the penalties you face will depend on several factors. These can include your blood alcohol content (BAC), the number of prior DUI convictions you have, and any aggravating factors, such as causing an accident or injury while driving under the influence.

Here are the penalties for a DUI conviction in Tennessee:

First DUI Offense

  1. Jail Time: Minimum of 48 hours up to 11 months and 29 days for BAC below 0.20%; a minimum of 7 consecutive days for BAC of 0.20% or higher.
  2. Fines: $350 to $1,500.
  3. License Revocation: 1 year.
  4. DUI School: Required attendance at a DUI education program.
  5. Community Service: 24-hour litter pickup is mandatory.
  6. Other: Possible installation of an Ignition Interlock Device (IID) at the offender’s expense.

Second DUI Offense

  1. Jail Time: Minimum of 45 days up to 11 months and 29 days.
  2. Fines: $600 to $3,500.
  3. License Revocation: 2 years, with the possibility of a restricted license.
  4. Vehicle Seizure/Forfeiture: Possible for offenders with a prior DUI conviction.
  5. IID: Mandatory installation.

Third DUI Offense

  1. Jail Time: Minimum of 120 days up to 11 months and 29 days.
  2. Fines: $1,100 to $10,000.
  3. License Revocation: 6 to 10 years, with no possibility of a restricted license.
  4. Vehicle Seizure/Forfeiture: Possible.
  5. IID: Mandatory installation.

Fourth or Subsequent DUI Offense

  1. Classification: Classified as a Class E felony DUI.
  2. Jail Time: Minimum of 150 consecutive days up to a maximum of 6 years.
  3. Fines: $3,000 to $15,000.
  4. License Revocation: 8 years, with no possibility of a restricted license.
  5. Vehicle Seizure/Forfeiture: Possible.
  6. IID: Mandatory installation.

Additional Penalties

  • Aggravated DUI: When a DUI case involves serious injury or death, the charges can be elevated to Aggravated DUI, carrying more severe penalties.
  • Underage DUI: For drivers under 21, the BAC limit is 0.02%, and penalties include drivers license suspension, fines, and community service.
  • Additional Costs: Costs associated with court fees, legal fees, increased insurance rates, and IID installation and maintenance can also be substantial.

How a Tennessee DUI Lawyer Can Help You Beat a DUI Charge

A DUI lawyer in Tennessee has a thorough understanding of Tennessee DUI laws and can explain the charges you are facing and the potential consequences. DUI laws in Tennessee are complex and can be challenging to understand, especially for someone who has never been charged with a DUI before. A DUI lawyer can help you understand the charges against you and the potential penalties you may face if convicted.

A Tennessee DUI lawyer can also investigate the circumstances of your arrest and look for any evidence that may help your case. This includes examining the police report, analyzing breathalyzer results, field sobriety tests, and interviewing witnesses.

If you are facing a DUI charge in Tennessee, it is essential to seek the help of a qualified DUI attorney in Tennessee. A DUI defense law firm can provide you with the legal knowledge and representation you need to mount a successful DUI defense. A Tennessee DUI lawyer can help you save your right to drive and protect your legal record from potential felony convictions.

More Tennessee DUI Resources

If you need a DUI lawyer in a specific city in Tennessee, we also have pages for DUI lawyers in cities across the state of Tennessee. Read our helpful and informative articles below to find a DUI lawyer near you. Also, you can call 1-888-839-4384 anytime to schedule a free consultation.

Top Tennessee DUI Lawyers

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