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Repeat DUI sentencing could get softer in Tennessee

It isn't too often when one could say that Tennessee's DUI laws might ease up on convicted offenders. More often, there is news of tougher laws and sentencing for drunk drivers. But according to The Tennessean, not even MADD is mad at a drunk driving proposal in the state.

The Tennessee House and Senate are both looking at the Recidivism Reduction Act. If passed into law, men and women convicted of multiple DUI charges in the state would have the opportunity to serve less time in jail and getting alcohol or drug treatment that they need instead.

Current Tennessee repeat DUI laws are as follows:

Second DUI conviction: minimum of 45 days in jail

Third DUI conviction: minimum of 120 days in jail

Proposed changes to those laws are as follows:

Second DUI conviction: minimum 15 days in jail

Third DUI conviction: minimum 60 days in jail

The idea behind reducing jail time is that expanding the use of substance treatment programs would better resolve the issue of alcohol or drug dependence. By addressing DUI offenders' tendency to abuse drugs or alcohol, Tennessee officials could more effectively address the problem of people reoffending after one drunk driving arrest.

Votes are still needed to either approve or reject the lesser DUI sentences. There is likely to be debate about the sentencing proposals, more specifically regarding shorter jail terms rather than more treatment for offenders.

A Tennessee criminal defense lawyer understands current DWI laws and can explain possible sentencing depending on an individual's case.

If there are changes to drunk driving laws, we will post an update.

Source: The Tennessean, "TN bill would reduce jail time for repeat DUI offenders," Tom Wilemon, Feb. 2, 2014

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