Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, including prescription drugs, is a very serious crime. More importantly, it takes precious lives. It is the leading cause of death of people between the ages of 16-24. Statistics say that one in two people will be involved in an alcohol related accident in their lifetime. Twenty-five thousand people per year are killed in an alcohol related accident, 500 people a week, 71 people a day, which equals to one life every 20 minutes.
Laws are different in every state; Tennessee prides itself on having some of the strictest laws when it comes to DUI. A DUI is the only misdemeanor criminal offense that you cannot receive pretrial diversion. DUI is also the rare misdemeanor that requires mandatory jail time.
Under the Tennessee law, a person can be charged and convicted with a DUI if he or she is control of a vehicle with a blood alcohol level (BAC) equal to or higher than .08 %, .02% if under 21 years of age. This also includes being under the influence of prescription or illegal drugs.
First offense will result in a fine ranging from $350.00 to $1500.00. You will spend anywhere from 48 hours to an 11-29 in jail, if blood alcohol level exceeds .20%. You will also lose your drivers license for a year. Second offense will result in a fine ranging from $1,100.00 to $3,500.00. The jail time goes up dramatically, to 45 days to an 11-29. Your driver’s license will be revoked for 2 years. You may have the option to take an inpatient drug and alcohol rehabilitation program for jail time credit. You could also lose your vehicle if it was used in the offense. Third offense, the fine will be $3,500.00 to $10,000. You can spend 120 days to an 11-29 in jail. Driving privileges are gone from 3 to 10 years and again you may lose your vehicle. Fourth offense is now a class E Felony. Fines will range from $3,000.00 to $15,000.00. You may spend anywhere from 150 days in jail to 6 years. You will lose your license for five years. Loss of vehicle may also occur.
There may also be other forms of punishment like probation and community service. Tennessee also uses the Ignition Interlock Device. This device will not allow the person’s car to be started if they have a blood alcohol level higher than the set limit. Also your insurance premiums could rise, and you may lose your job.
There are many ways around getting a DUI. Simply abstaining from drinking and driving, having a designated driver when you go out, even pace yourself so that you are still able to drive when you need to drive your vehicle again. Driving under the influence of drugs can impair your ability to drive also, just do not do it. Even if you are feeling ok to drive, you may still be in danger. Educate yourself on the laws in your State and be safe.