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Penalties for 1st and 2nd DUI convictions

Tennessee residents who are charged for their first drunk driving offense may only spend 48 hours in jail. However, the minimum penalties for DUI are greater if a driver is found to have a blood alcohol content of at least .20 percent. First time DUI offenders with high BAC levels are jailed for a minimum of seven days, and the maximum jail sentence for a first time DUI is 11 months and 29 days.

In addition to jail time, first-time DUI offenders will face mandatory driver's license revocation for one year. They will also have to pay fines ranging from $350 to $1,500, plus other costs such as vehicle towing, insurance rate increases, bail and license reinstatement fees, and court costs. A judge may also order a first-time DUI offender to attend a drug and alcohol treatment program and install an ignition interlock device in the vehicle.

The penalties for DUI are steeper when the conviction is a second offense. A second-time DUI offender must spend a minimum of 45 days in jail and pay a mandatory fine between $600 and $3,500. A person's driver's license will be revoked for two years after a second time DUI offense. 

If first- or second-time DUI offenders were involved in an accident, they may be ordered to pay restitution to any people who suffered personal injury or loss. A DUI defendant could also face additional charges for injuries that were caused by the accident. An attorney may be able to help a person who is facing drunk driving charges to argue for reduced charges and minimum penalties.

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Summers, Rufolo & Rodgers
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