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How long does a DUI stay on your record in Tennessee?

It depends on what you mean. Technically, a Tennessee DUI stays on your record for life. However, the look-back period for repeat DUI offenses is ten years.

The penalties for a second or subsequent DUI conviction are more serious than for a first-time DUI conviction. However, only those convictions that occurred in the last ten years are considered for this purpose. The look back period is ten years from the date of the offense back to the date of the prior offense.

The penalties for a first-time DUI without injury, death or other special circumstances include:

  • Between forty-eight hours up to 11 months, 29 days in jail (a minimum of 7 consecutive days in jail if your blood alcohol content was 0.20 or higher)
  • A fine of between $350 and $1,500
  • Loss of your license for a year (a restricted license is generally available)
  • Ignition interlock device required in your vehicle

You could also owe restitution and be required to pay for drug and alcohol treatment, towing, bail, court costs, license reinstatement fees and high-risk insurance.

If you're convicted of a second DUI within 10 years of the first, your penalties increase:

  • Between 45 days and 11 months, 29 days in jail
  • A fine of between $600 and $3,500
  • Loss of your license for two years (restricted license generally available)
  • Your vehicle is subject to forfeiture if the previous conviction was within 5 years
  • Ignition interlock device on your vehicle now and for six months after license reinstatement

You could also face the other costs described above.

A third DUI within ten years could mean:

  • Between 120 days and 11 months, 29 days in jail
  • A fine of between $1,100 and $10,000
  • Loss of your license for six years (restricted license generally available)
  • Your vehicle is subject to forfeiture if one of the previous convictions was within 5 years
  • Ignition interlock device on your vehicle now and for six months after license reinstatement
  • Restitution and costs

A fourth DUI is a Class E felony with penalties including:

  • Between 150 consecutive days up to the maximum penalty for a Class E Felony, which depending on the offender's range is between 1 and 6 years
  • A fine of between $3,000 and $15,000
  • Loss of your license for eight years (restricted license generally available)
  • Your vehicle is subject to forfeiture if one of the previous convictions was within 5 years
  • Ignition interlock device on your vehicle now and for six months after license reinstatement
  • Restitution and costs

Remember, these are the penalties for simple, uncomplicated DUI offenses. If you injured or killed someone in a crash, or if you had a child passenger in the car, your penalties could be even higher.

DUI in Tennessee is no joke

Even though the first three DUI convictions are misdemeanors, the consequences are quite serious. Don't go through a DUI alone. An attorney may be able to limit the damage from a DUI arrest.

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Summers, Rufolo & Rodgers
735 Broad Street, Suite 800
Chattanooga, TN 37402-2913

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