First-time Tennessee DUI offenders face lifetime of consequences

A recent opinion piece in The Tennessean expressed frustration about the severity of Tennessee’s treatment of first-time DUI offenders. The concerns expressed are likely shared by many in the state who feel people deserve a second chance after making a mistake.

The piece started out by criticizing a supposed deal cut by a Tennessee Congressman facing DUI charges. Unfortunately, as the author points out, most of those facing DUI charges are unable to cut a special deal and potentially face stiff penalties and a permanent DUI notation on their record.

Those convicted of a DUI for the first time in Tennessee will be required to pay a fine ranging from $350 to $1,500, spend at least two full days in jail and have their driver’s license revoked for an entire year. The DUI can never be expunged (removed) from a person’s record.

Critics claim it is unfair to have a misdemeanor DUI on someone’s record for his or her entire lifetime. This despite the fact that Tennessee allows for the expungement of many crimes including some felonies. The piece in the Tennessean referred to it as hanging a “scarlet D” around someone’s neck. This may prevent individuals from getting a job, being admitted to educational institutions, receiving a commercial driver’s license along with many other consequences.

For those charged with DUIs the permanent consequences of a conviction make mounting a vigorous defense all the more important. An experienced criminal defense attorney can advise you of your rights and advocate on your behalf.

Source: The Tennessean, “First-time DUI offenders sentenced to life of difficulty,” Ken Maynard, September 20, 2012

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