While a DUI conviction may not land a person in jail for year and years, it can most certainly mean he or she has limited driving rights. Even a first-time drunk driving offense can lead to the temporary loss of one’s driver’s license.
“No driving for you” as a punishment might sound like a simple sort of slap on the wrist. But a driver’s license suspension has far-ranging impact on a person’s life, including the lives of their family and employer. How did you get to work today? Would you be able to get to work without the ability to drive?
Does your employer depend on you? Do you want and need to keep your job? Does your family rely on your income in order to get by? If you are like most Tennessee drivers who are charged with drunk driving, then losing your license becomes a threat to your basic stability and role as a caregiver.
While working with a criminal defense lawyer during your DUI case, you should talk specifically about protecting your freedom to drive. While it is common for drivers’ licenses to be suspended or revoked in certain DUI cases, there might also be a legal opportunity to at least retain limited rights to driving.
Tennessee allows for some men and women to get restricted driver’s licenses. A general rule is that restricted licenses are mainly for first-time offenders. Those with further convictions will have a harder time, including having to have already served one year of license revocation. Those with two DUIs on their record must have an ignition interlock device on their vehicle in order to drive.
Restricted licenses basically allow people to go to work, school and treatment programs. The hope is that the opportunity to drive serves as a consequence for DUI while providing a person a chance to protect the stability and future promise that work, school and community support supply.
If you are worried about your driver’s license while in the midst of a drunk driving case, have a candid conversation with your defense lawyer about how important driving is to your life. The fear of losing one’s license is valid and, fortunately, Tennessee law might provide an option to prevent a complete loss of driving privileges.