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What is the difference between a 1st and 4th degree DUI offense?

When a Tennessee resident is accused of driving under the influence, he or she should be aware that the severity of the consequences can change depending on the number of previous DUI convictions the person has. For example, the consequences for a fourth DUI offense are more severe than a first DUI offense.

If a person is a first-time DUI offender, he or she could be facing a minimum 48-hour jail sentence. If the person's blood alcohol content is .20 percent or greater though, the driver must serve a minimum of 7 days in jail. The maximum sentence is 11 months and 29 days. The driver is also at risk for losing his or her driving privileges for one year and may be required to participate in a drug or alcohol treatment program. An ignition interlock device may be required. In addition to this expense, which can exceed $1,000 on its own, the accused person may also face a fine that can range from $350 to $1,500.

Fourth and subsequent DUI offenses are considered to be felonies. A person convicted of a fourth offense DUI must serve a minimum of 150 consecutive days in jail.  He may also lose his license for up to eight years and may have his vehicle seized. Additionally, the judge may order the person to install an ignition interlock device on their vehicle at his own expense. The mandatory fine ranges from $3,000 to $15,000.

If a person is facing any DUI offense, there are a range of consequences the person could potentially face if convicted. Because unique factors are taken into account, this blog should not be taken as legal advice. As such, a person who is facing drunk driving charges should talk to a criminal law attorney who may look over the case and determine what potential options the person has. In some cases, the attorney may be able to challenge the charges.

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