In order to deter drunk driving, nearly every state has adopted stern penalties for driving under the influence (DUI) and driving while intoxicated (DWI) offenders. Tennessee is no different.
Menefee & Brown, P.C. has experienced DUI lawyers who have over 20 years of combined experience defending those charged with DUI or DWI, and they have also helped to have potential consequences reduced. Nonetheless, Tennessee law outlines punishment guidelines that the courts may very well seek to follow. Theses penalties vary depending on if you have previous DUIs on your record. In addition, punishments may include fines, suspensions of driving privileges or even jail time. The chart below outlines the punishment guidelines under Tennessee law:
The consequences associated with refusing a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) test also increase in severity with successive refusals. A first refusal will result in one year of license suspension, while a second or third refusal will result in longer suspensions. No guidelines exist under Tennessee law for fines or jail time associated with refusing a blood test, but it is very possible that officers or prosecutors may try to prove intoxication in this event.
While a first or second DUI offense is a misdemeanor, Tennessee law is strict with repeat offenders or DUI offenders who cause harm to others. A DUI accident that causes harm to a child under 13 may be prosecuted as child endangerment — a class D felony. Further, a DUI accident in which another person is seriously harmed may be prosecuted as vehicular assault — also a class D felony. If another person is killed or you have certain prior charges, it may be considered vehicular manslaughter or aggravated vehicular assault — class B and A felonies, respectively, that may carry lengthy prison sentences and large fines.
The best way to avoid a DUI or DWI accident is to not drink and drive. However, conspicuous avoidance of a DUI checkpoint can draw suspicion to you, and police may then pursue your vehicle.
If you have been charged with a DUI or DWI, you may face serious consequences. Contact us online or at 865-357-9800 for your free consultation on how the dedicated legal team at Menefee & Brown, P.C. will lessen these consequences.