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.