First DUI Offense Penalties in Tennessee

Drink and drive in Tennessee and you are facing significant monetary fines and penalties. The escalation is also rather significant, so repeat offenders are at risk for both personal and professional repercussions. See below for more information for first DUI offense penalties in Tennessee.

Tennessee DUI by the Numbers (based on 2012 overall numbers)

Tennessee has made a concentrated effort to reduce drunk driving in the state, earning a 4-star rating from Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD). Considering the size of the state, overall arrests were very reasonable, but the ratio of fatalities to 100,000 residents is still rather high (4.6:100,000).

  • 26,858 total DUI arrests (146 from under-18 drivers)
  • 295 total alcohol-related fatalities (27 from under-21 drivers)
  • 31 percent decrease in alcohol-related fatalities
  • 62 percent decrease in alcohol-related fatalities for under-21 drivers
  • 73.8 percent of fatalities involved a driver with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .15+
  • 85 percent of repeat offenders had a BAC of .15+

DUI First Offense Penalties in Tennessee

Tennessee first time offenders face significant fines and penalties. There is mandatory jail time as well as an ignition interlock device (IID) installation. Below are the fines and penalties as of this writing:

  • Monetary fines ranging from $350 to $1,500
  • Mandatory IID required
  • Minimum 48-hour jail sentence with a maximum of 11 months
  • One-year mandatory license suspension

Tennessee does have an implied consent rule, so there are additional penalties and fines in place for refusing to take this test. These fines are in effect regardless of the overall outcome of the case. For first time offenders, the license will be revoked for a period of one year.  Revocation differs from suspension in that you lose your license completely and must retake all driving tests and exams before it can be reinstated.

Tennessee has a 10-year washout period for repeat offenders.

Should You Hire a DUI Attorney if Arrested and Charged in Tennessee?

Facing significant fines and penalties, it is recommended that anyone arrested in Tennessee seek out the advice of an attorney to help fight the charges. A local attorney will have better knowledge of the local DUI laws and may be able to plead you out to lesser charges (wet reckless) if no children and/or injuries were involved (this is sometimes an option for drivers that are right on the borderline for a DUI violation). For more information about Tennessee DUI attorneys, please fill out the Free DUI Arrest Evaluation Form.

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