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What are Tennessee's penalties for 2nd and 3rd DUI offenses?

Tennessee has some of the toughest DUI laws in the U.S., and that means that people convicted of a second or third DUI offense face some serious penalties.

As we discussed earlier on this blog, a first-time DUI conviction results in mandatory jail time, fines, loss of license for a year, and other penalties. The penalties only go up with a higher blood alcohol content (BAC), if there was a child in the car, if you were involved in an accident and upon additional DUI convictions.

A second-time DUI in Tennessee (for a driver at least 21 who had a BAC between 0.08 and 0.20) typically results in:

  • Between 45 days and 11 months, 29 days in jail
  • Driver's license revocation for two years (a restricted license may be available)
  • A mandatory $600 - $3,500 fine
  • Mandatory drug and alcohol education classes
  • Administrative and court costs
  • Installation and maintenance of an ignition interlock device at your expense (if the second conviction occurs within 5 years of the first, the ignition interlock will be required for six months after license reinstatement)
  • Vehicle seizure/forfeiture
  • Restitution for anyone who suffered personal injury or financial loss

If you're convicted of DUI a third time in Tennessee (driver at least 21 with a BAC between 0.08 and 0.20), you could be facing:

  • Jail time between 120 days and 11 months, 29 days
  • Driver's license revocation for six years (a restricted license may be available)
  • A mandatory $1,100 to $10,000 fine
  • Administrative and court costs
  • Installation and maintenance of an ignition interlock device at your expense (if two DUI convictions occurred within 5 years of each other, the ignition interlock will be required for six months after license reinstatement)
  • Vehicle seizure/forfeiture
  •  Restitution for anyone who suffered personal injury or financial loss

Those are only the legal consequences. In addition, you could have to deal with secondary consequences, such as:

  • Loss of your car insurance
  • Being required to purchase expensive "high risk" (SR-22) insurance
  • Possible loss of your job or demotion because you're unable to drive
  • A criminal record that could affect future employment, credit, educational and housing opportunities

With all that to deal with, you need to fight back aggressively against any DUI charge. You can't afford just to plead guilty and hope for the best.

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