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Driving is one place you want to score low

Aiming low is not a typical element of Tennessee culture. From the day we enter school, the focus is on scoring high. In nearly any sport (golf excluded) the goal is to get as many points as you can. If you are in business, success isn't gauged by how little money you make.

Where driving is concerned you want to be more like a golfer than a tennis player. If you rack up too many points it will likely wind up costing your driving privileges. And if you can't drive, you might be unable to succeed in other important areas of your life.

Point accumulation on your driving record is the most common reason a Tennessee driver's license gets suspended. And one of the speediest ways points accumulate is by being charged and convicted of driving under the influence.

Under our state's laws the Department of Safety has the power to evaluate you and suspend your driving privileges if officials believe you are unsafe. If you are an adult and you chalk up 12 points in one year's time, a notice of suspension is likely to follow. If you are a teenager, all it takes is six points in 12 months. And once you can drive again, you can expect your car insurance to cost more.

Having a DUI conviction on your record is not the only way points mount. But the points and additional consequences make it important to fight the charges whenever they are leveled. A first-time conviction requires a minimum 48 hours in jail. Your license can be revoked for a year and you could face a fine of up to $1,500. If you have multiple DUI offenses on your record, even from another state, the penalties can increase.

With all that's at stake, minimizing points ought to be par for the course.

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