The journey to sobriety is different for every alcoholic and addict. Your reason for choosing to explore a sober life may be different than others who are struggling with addiction, but remember, the choice you make is your own and can be the catalyst for change.
While some individuals make a choice to quit using drugs or alcohol for more personal reasons such as saving a failing relationship, others may make a change after being involved in or responsible for an alcohol-related car accident that caused significant damage or even a fatality. Others receive a DUI offense and decide it’s time to re-evaluate their dependence on alcohol.
If you are facing a DUI offense, it’s important to understand as much as you can and have an experienced personal injury lawyer, who is knowledgeable about DUI laws, represent you.
The right lawyer can help you work through all the details of your DUI, but it’s important to know that in some situations a recovery plan may play an integral role in not only your journey to sobriety but to also potentially reducing your penalties and fines.
DUI Offenses in Tennessee
Here are the nine DUI offenses in Tennessee; we will briefly explain each one so that you know what to expect when you meet with your DUI lawyer.
This offense is the refusal to submit to blood alcohol (BAC). A first offense is the loss of your license for one year and the second offense results in the loss of your license for two years. You can also have your license revoked for two years if an accident caused injury or five years for a fatal injury.
First Time DUI Offenders
As a first-time offender, you may spend between 48 hours to 11 months in jail. If your BAC is .20 or higher, you may spend a minimum of seven days in jail. Your license is revoked for one year, you may have a fine of up to $1,500, and you will be ordered to participate in an alcohol/drug treatment program.
Other expenses may include an ignition interlock device, high risk, insurance, bail, and other related costs.
Second Time DUI Offenders
You may spend up to 11 months in jail and have a fine of up to $3,500. Your license is revoked for two years and your vehicle may be seized. Other expenses may include an ignition interlock device, restitution to others, and you may be ordered to go to a treatment program.
Third Time DUI Offenders
Like first- and second-time offenders, a third-time offender may spend up to 11 months in jail. They can lose their license for six years and fines may result in up to $10,000. Similar to other offenses, a treatment program and an ignition interlock device are often ordered by the court.
Fourth Time (and More) DUI Offenders
If you are a fourth time offender (or have subsequent offenses after the fourth), you may be charged with a Class E Felony, spend one year in jail, have up to $15,000 in fines, and lose your license for up to eight years. An ignition interlock device and treatment program is likely.
If you are under the influence of alcohol and injury another person, you may be charged with a Class D Felony, have your license revoked for up to five years, and serve up to 12 years in jail. All fines and penalties vary depending on the nature of the offense.
Driving while under the influence of alcohol with a passenger who is under the age of 18 can result in a Class D Felony charge, especially if the child is injured (Class B Felony if a fatality occurs). You may serve up to 30 years in jail, depending on the felony.
Vehicular homicide in Tennessee results in a Class B Felony if the crash is caused by a driver with a BAC of .08 or more. Offenders may lose their license for up to ten years.
Aggravated Vehicular Assault
Aggravated vehicular assault is a Class A Felony if the driver has two or more DUI convictions, vehicular assault convictions, or a vehicular homicide.
It’s important to remember that each DUI offense may differ based on the circumstance and history of the offender. Fines, penalties, and jail time all vary for every offender.
A DUI Offense: A Reason for Recovery
If you are facing a DUI offense, you might feel embarrassed or even worried that your future is uncertain. DUI laws are put in place to protect motorists from a car accident resulting from drivers under the influence.
Victims of these types of accidents are likely to seek help from Tennessee attorneys, such as The Law Office of David E. Gordon, that specialize in these types of cases.
A DUI may not seem like a “gentle nudge” to make changes in your life and the penalties and fines associated with the offense may be overwhelming. A drunk driving offense can be life changing and it is often the one thing that helps addicts realize they are ready to receive help for their addiction.
Whether court-ordered treatment is part of your sentence or not, let this be something that motivates you to receive the help you deserve and explore a life without alcohol or drugs.