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Tennessee's DUI laws mean serious penalties, even for first-timers

In recent years, Tennessee's legislature has really "cracked down" on drunk driving offenders. Our state has, comparatively, some of the toughest DUI laws in the nation. Even a first-time conviction will come with mandatory jail time, fines and more. The penalties only increase for additional or enhanced drunk driving charges.

A standard, first-time DUI in Tennessee (for a driver 21 and older with a BAC between .08 and .20) will come with:

  • From 48 hours to 11 months, 29 days in jail (a year minus one day)
  • Loss of driving privileges for a full year
  • Fines ranging between $350 and $1500
  • Mandatory drug and alcohol education classes
  • Other administrative costs ($100 to get your license reinstated, etc.)
  • Possible installation of an ignition interlock device

Of course, there are also the "secondary" consequences that can still have a huge impact on your life:

  • Being dropped from your car insurance
  • Having to purchase high-risk (SR-22) auto insurance at a much higher cost
  • Job loss or demotion from being unable to drive
  • Having a criminal record (which could limit future job, educational, credit and housing opportunities)

If your BAC was particularly high (over .20), you could be subject to even higher penalties and more consequences, including a mandatory week in jail, higher court costs and possible restitution to anyone harmed by your DUI. In addition, if there was a minor child in the vehicle at the time of a DUI arrest, minimum jail time increases to 30 days, and the minimum fine goes from $350 to $1000.

As you can see, the penalties for even a first-time DUI conviction are very serious. You need to aggressively fight back against these charges to prevent these severe consequences from negatively impacting your life for years to come.

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