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In Tennessee, DUI is more serious with a child in the car

Did you know that driving drunk with a child passenger may get you significantly increased penalties in the state of Tennessee? It can, and getting arrested for DUI with a passenger under 18 could get you charged with a Class D felony, if the child suffers a serious injury. If the child dies, you could be charged with a Class B felony, for vehicular homicide by intoxication.

The basic penalties for DUI in Tennessee include:

  • Between 48 hours up to 11 months, 29 days in jail
  • 1-year license revocation
  • $350-$1,500 fine
  • Mandatory DUI school and/or drug and alcohol treatment
  • Mandatory restitution for any losses you caused
  • Ignition interlock device installed and maintained at your expense
  • Mandatory high-risk insurance
  • Costs for towing, bail, court costs, DUI school, license reinstatement

If you are arrested for DUI and had a child passenger (under 18) in the vehicle, you could be charged with an enhanced DUI which requires a minimum of 30 days in jail in addition to sentence imposed for the DUI.

If you are convicted of either the Class D felony or a Class B felony described above, you could face even more significant penalties:

  • If the child suffers a serious injury, you could be facing a sentence of between 2 years and up to 12 years in prison, along with a fine of up to $5,000.
  • If the child dies, you could face a sentence of 8 and up to 30 years in prison, and a fine of up to $25,000.

Your sentence could depend on a number of factors.

A child passenger in the vehicle could easily change an ordinary DUI into a serious felony. You can't afford to plead guilty and hope for the best. You need a quality, experienced criminal defense attorney to protect your rights during any DUI case, but it's crucial if child endangerment is alleged.

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