If you are like just about every other driver in Tennessee, you have made a few mistakes behind the wheel. Sometimes, these mistakes go unnoticed; other times, you can be stopped and potentially arrested for a mistake, like driving drunk.
Let’s consider a scenario in which a person is pulled over and charged with DUI. This person is just barely over the legal limit, does not have a criminal record and did not hurt anyone. Generally speaking, the charges files and potential penalties in this situation will be among the most lenient. However, as specified by Tennessee DUI laws, that will change when the following factors are present.
- Multiple DUIs: A first-time offender will generally face less serious penalties than a repeat offender will. If you have one or more DUIs on your record when you are pulled over, you are looking at harsher penalties.
- Kids in your car: If you are accused of drunk driving with a minor in your vehicle, you can be charged with child endangerment as well, which is a felony. You could lose your license and spend at least two years in jail if that child is seriously injured.
- Causing an accident: Vehicular assault and homicide are both felonies that can result in lengthy jail sentences and significant fines.
- A very high blood alcohol concentration: Having a BAC of at least 0.20 percent will result in at least seven days in jail.
A single charge for drunk driving can be upsetting enough for anyone in this situation. Additional and/or escalated charges can only make matters worse.
In these situations, it can be easy to feel hopeless or that you have no defense to what you have been accused of. However, the fact is that you do have rights that must be protected and you must take seriously your right to defend yourself. Defending yourself can involve many strategies, such as seeking dismissed or reduced DUI charges. Working with an attorney to do this, particularly if you are facing aggravated DUI charges, can prove to be a wise decision.