DUI in Tennessee

DUI in Tennessee

Penalties for a DUI Offense in Tennessee

OffenseBlood Alcohol Content (BAC)Jail TimeFinesLicense RevocationOther Consequences
1st Time DUI Offender0.0848 hours up to 11 months, 29 days$350-$1,5001 year (Restricted License)Alcohol and drug treatment, Restitution, IID
2nd Time DUI Offender0.0845 days to 11 months, 29 days$600-$3,5002 years (Restricted License)Alcohol and drug treatment, Vehicle seizure, IID
3rd Time DUI Offender0.08120 days to 11 months, 29 days$1,100 to $10,0006 years (Restricted License)Alcohol and drug treatment, Vehicle seizure, IID
4th and Subsequent Offender0.081 year (365 days)$3,000 to $15,0008 years (Restricted License)Alcohol and drug treatment, Vehicle seizure, IID
Vehicular Assault0.082 to 12 years jail timeFines and court costs1 to 5 years (No restricted)License revocation, Jail time
Child Endangerment0.082 to 12 years jail timeClass B Felony if child deathVariesJail time, License revocation
Vehicular Homicide0.083 to 10 years (No restricted)Class B Felony3 to 10 years (No restricted)License revocation
Aggravated Vehicular Assault0.08Class A FelonyFines3 to 10 years (No restricted)License revocation, IID

DUI, or Driving Under the Influence, is a criminal offense in Tennessee, as in every state in the United States. This crime involves operating a motor vehicle while impaired by alcohol, illicit drugs, prescription medications, or any other substance that affects one’s ability to safely operate a vehicle.

The standard measure for impairment due to alcohol is a Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or higher. This limit applies to individuals who are 21 years of age or older. However, for commercial drivers, the limit is lower at 0.04% BAC. For drivers under the age of 21, Tennessee has a “zero tolerance” law, meaning any detectable amount of alcohol (0.02% BAC) can lead to a DUI charge.

First DUI in Tennessee

The penalties for a first offense of Driving Under the Influence (DUI) in Tennessee can be quite severe. Here’s a general idea of what they may include:

  1. Jail Time: A first offense DUI in Tennessee carries a mandatory minimum of 48 hours in jail, though the sentence could be up to 11 months and 29 days. If your BAC was 0.20% or greater, the minimum jail time increases to 7 consecutive days.
  2. Fines: There’s a minimum fine of $350, which can go up to $1,500.
  3. License Suspension: For a first DUI conviction, your driver’s license will be revoked for one year. You may be able to apply for a restricted license that allows limited driving privileges, for example, to and from work or school.
  4. Ignition Interlock Device: Upon a first offense, an ignition interlock device is required. This is a device installed in your vehicle that requires you to take and pass a breathalyzer test before you can start the vehicle.
  5. Alcohol and Drug Treatment Program: You’ll have to attend a court-ordered alcohol and drug safety DUI school or substance abuse treatment.
  6. Restitution: You may also be ordered to pay restitution to any person suffering physical injury or personal loss as a result of your offense.
  7. Court Costs: In addition to fines, you may be required to pay court costs.

2nd DUI in Tennessee

A second DUI (Driving Under the Influence) offense in Tennessee also comes with serious penalties, and they are more severe than those for a first offense.

  1. Jail Time: For a second offense, the offender may face a minimum jail time of 45 days to a maximum of 11 months and 29 days.
  2. Fines: The fines for a second DUI in Tennessee range from $600 to $3,500.
  3. License Suspension: A second DUI offense can lead to a 2-year license suspension. After the first year, you may be eligible to apply for a restricted license with the installation of an Ignition Interlock Device.
  4. Ignition Interlock Device: An ignition interlock device is required for individuals convicted of a second DUI. This device requires the driver to submit to a breathalyzer test before the vehicle can be started.
  5. Vehicle Seizure/Forfeiture: The state may seize your vehicle for a second DUI offense.
  6. Mandatory Substance Abuse Treatment: A court may order you to complete a substance abuse treatment program.

3rd DUI in Tennessee

A third DUI (Driving Under the Influence) offense in Tennessee carries even harsher penalties than the first and second offenses.

  1. Jail Time: A third DUI offense can lead to 120 days to 11 months and 29 days in jail.
  2. Fines: Fines for a third DUI range from $1,100 to $10,000.
  3. License Suspension: If convicted of a third DUI, your driver’s license will be revoked for a period of 3 to 10 years. There is no possibility for a restricted license during this period.
  4. Ignition Interlock Device: Once the license is reinstated, an ignition interlock device is required. This device requires the driver to take a breathalyzer test before the vehicle can start.
  5. Vehicle Seizure/Forfeiture: The state may seize or forfeit your vehicle for a third DUI offense.
  6. Mandatory Substance Abuse Treatment: You will be required to complete a court-ordered substance abuse treatment program.