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Repeat drunk driving comes with high penalties in Tennessee

If you have been convicted in the past of a Tennessee drunk driving offense, you could be facing much stiffer penalties if you are convicted again. In fact, a fourth DUI is charged as a Class E felony. Earlier this year, the law changed so that a fifth DUI offense is a Class D felony, which is more serious than Class E.

Indeed, over the past few years, the legislature has been passing new laws that have incrementally increased the penalties for repeat drunk driving.

Let's look at the possible penalties for a fourth DUI conviction:

  • One to six years in jail, with a minimum of 150 consecutive days actually served
  • A mandatory fine of between $3,000 and $15,000
  • Eight-year license revocation
  • Vehicle forfeiture
  • Mandatory drug and alcohol treatment
  • Ignition interlock device installed on your car at your expense

For a fifth DUI conviction, the sentencing range jumps to two to twelve years.

The penalties are generally substantially higher if you were involved in an accident with injuries or a death.

According to one analysis, even repeat DUI offenders rarely served more than 50% of their nominal sentences, and few were sentenced to more than six years. After the imposition of the new laws, however, repeat DUI offenders who are habitual offenders with seven or more DUIs could get as much as 15 years behind bars.

Moreover, the ignition interlock requirements have gone up. Now, you can't get your license reinstated unless you have had the ignition interlock system installed on your car for a year.

Any DUI charge means you need an attorney

In Tennessee, the penalties for DUI grow with each offense. That means even a single offense is extremely serious and can be held against you if you make the same mistake again. If you have been charged with drunk driving, especially repeat drunk driving, you need an experienced defense attorney to protect your rights.

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