Your first DUI was a mistake. Repeated DUI convictions, though, and the state of Tennessee doesn’t see it that way. The state sees repeat offenders as very problematic and has set the penalties to increase after each new offense.
You may have pled guilty to your first DUI. Pleading guilty to a second or subsequent DUI could be a big mistake. That is because a guilty plea counts as a conviction, and every conviction makes this charge more serious. You need a lawyer.
The penalties for multiple DUI offenses add up quickly
Even a second DUI conviction has serious penalties:
- Between 45 days to almost a year in jail
- A mandatory fine of between $600 and $3,500
- A two-year driver’s license revocation (a restricted license may be available)
- Vehicle forfeiture
- Mandatory drug and alcohol treatment program
- An ignition interlock device installed on your car at your expense
- Mandatory restitution to anyone you harmed
The penalties for a third conviction are even more serious. However, a fourth or subsequent DUI conviction is a felony.
If you’re convicted a fourth time, you will be sentenced to serve a minimum of 150 consecutive days in jail. There’s a mandatory fine of up to $15,000 and an eight-year driver’s license revocation. You could forfeit your vehicle. There’s also the mandatory drug and alcohol treatment, ignition interlock and restitution.
In every case, the penalties are even greater if you were in an accident or had a minor in the car while you were allegedly driving impaired.
It’s time to take stock. Talk to an attorney right now.
Even if you have only been convicted of DUI once before, you can’t afford to make decisions about your case without an attorney’s advice. An attorney may be able to get these charges reduced so you aren’t considered a repeat DUI offender. There are also defenses that may be available or things that can be done to improve your chances of a favorable outcome.
You owe it to yourself to consult with a lawyer and find out your legal options. The sooner you act, the more options you could have.