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What is the difference between a 2nd and 4th DUI conviction?

The state of Tennessee takes drunk driving accusations very seriously. Those who are convicted on more than one drunk driving charge will face punishments that are increasingly more severe depending on their number of previous convictions. For example, the consequences that a person could face following a conviction for a second offense are very different than what they may confront if found guilty of a fourth offense.

If a motorist is dealing with a second DUI conviction, he or she may have to pay a fine for anywhere between $600 and $3,500 depending on the circumstances. Drivers with a second DUI conviction may also receive jail sentences that may last between a minimum of 45 days and a maximum of 11 months and 29 days. After they are released, their driving privileges may be suspended for a period of two years. In some cases, the judge may also require the motorist to enroll in an alcohol or drug treatment program.

A fourth DUI conviction is considered to be a Class E felony with fines that can range between $3,000 and $15,000. People who are found guilty of their fourth DUIs also face jail sentences that start at a minimum of 150 consecutive days. Once the offenders serve their sentences, they will lose their driving privileges for a period of eight years.

Since drunk driving charges result in increasingly severe punishments depending on a person's number of prior convictions, a criminal law attorney may work diligently to defend a driver against the charges. The lawyer's strategy may depend on the circumstances surrounding the case. For example, if authorities pulled the driver over, the attorney may argue that the officer did not have probable cause. If a breathalyzer test was administered, there may be evidence that the device was not properly calibrated.  These are things that an experienced dui attorney can raise and challenge in the appropriate cases.

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