A driver accused of a DUI (driving under the influence) can face several charges. Whether it’s the first time a driver faces this accusation, or if it’s the second, third, or subsequent time, a driver can face additional enhancements.
In DUI cases, an enhancement is a subsequent misjudgment a driver is accused of in addition to the initial DUI charge. The most common reasons an enhancement would be given in addition to an initial DUI charge include:
- If a minor was in the vehicle;
- If this is not the driver’s first DUI offense; and,
- If someone was permanently injured or killed during the offense.
First-Time DUI Charges in Tennessee
Individuals who are charged with a DUI for the first time can expect consequences such as:
- Losing their driver’s license for a period of time;
- Fines and court costs;
- Increased insurance rates; and,
- Jail time (a first DUI offense in Tennessee is punishable by up to 11 months and 29 days in jail).
Subsequent DUI Charges in Tennessee
If a driver has a prior DUI conviction, the penalties listed above are much more severe.
Second DUI Conviction
A second DUI conviction in Tennessee will result in:
- Jail time of 45 days to one year;
- A fine of $600 to $3,500;
- Implementation of a restricted driver’s license (if applicable) or license suspension of up to two years;
- Admittance to an alcohol and drug treatment program;
- An ignition interlock device (IID) installed at the driver’s expense; and,
- Any restitution to anyone who suffered an injury during the offense.
Third DUI Conviction
If a driver is convicted of a third DUI, they can expect consequences including:
- 120 days to one year in jail;
- Fines from $1,100-$10,000;
- A license suspension of up to six years with the possibility of obtaining a restricted license;
- Mandatory attendance at an alcohol and drug treatment program; and,
- An IID installed at the driver’s expense and in place for up to six months after a driver’s license is reinstated.
Fourth and Any Additional Conviction
Any driver who is convicted of a DUI for the fourth time or anytime after that will face severe penalties including:
- The charge being classified as a Class E felony;
- One year in jail with a minimum or 150 consecutive days served in confinement;
- Fines from $3,000-$15,000;
- License revocation for up to eight years with the potential for obtaining a restricted license; and, similar to other convictions,
- Installation of an IID and mandatory attendance at an alcohol and drug treatment program. This includes an IID being in place for six months after a driver gets their license back if they were convicted of two DUIs within five years.
Enhancements That Can Impact a DUI Charge
As shared earlier, certain enhancements can impact a DUI charge even for someone who is accused of the charge for the first time. The most common enhancements are as follows.
Previous Conviction or Convictions
A driver who has previously been convicted of a DUI will face much more severe penalties than someone who is facing the accusation for the first time. While some subsequent consequences are listed above, it’s important to note that the penalties for a first-time conviction will likely also be enforced to a much higher penalty. That means that a driver who finds themself convicted for a second, third, or subsequent DUI conviction could potentially:
- Lose their driver’s license for years or even a lifetime;
- Find it difficult to obtain any driver’s insurance; and,
- A significant time in jail, or worse, a long-term prison sentence.
Additionally, any Tennessean with a previous DUI conviction within the last five years will be classified as a habitual offender.
Minor in a Vehicle
Anyone convicted of a DUI with a child under the age of 18 in the vehicle could face up to one year in jail. This is in addition to any other penalties that may be imposed.
Drivers involved in an accident that results in injuries while driving under the influence could be charged with felony aggravated assault. This is a serious charge that could result in years in prison.
DUI Attorneys in Tennessee
As shared above, the consequences of driving under the influence in Tennessee are serious. If you are facing these charges, it is essential to contact an experienced DUI attorney who can help you fight the charges and protect your rights. The team at Meade Law Group will always prioritize your best interests and fight for you. Contact our dedicated DUI attorneys today online or by phone. (423) 464-7779