Drunk Driving Defense Laws in Tennessee

Drunk driving is a serious offense in Tennessee. Make sure you plan ahead and make sure you have a designated driver if you will be drinking. If you end up arrested for a DUI, you can face a mandatory license suspension and harsh jail sentence. Talk to a Tennessee DUI defense attorney for legal advice on how to avoid a drunk driving conviction.

Tennessee Drunk Driving Laws

Tennessee law considers a person to be driving under the influence (DUI) while driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs or by having a BAC of .08% or more.

Drivers under the age of 21 may be charged with a DUI for having a BAC of .02% or more and be subject to special penalties such as community service, suspension of their driver license for 1 year, and a fine of $250.

Implied ConsentYes

Enhanced Penalties: BAC of .20% or more; driving while under the influence with a child in the car; causing injury or death to another person; prior convictions within 10 years

All DUI offenses are subject to the use of an ignition interlock device (IID), alcohol or drug treatment program, restitution to anyone injured, and possible vehicle forfeiture. Generally, the first three DUI offenses in Tennessee are considered misdemeanor offenses, and the penalties increase per offense.

  • First offense: 48 hours to 11 months and 29 days imprisonment; one-year license revocation; a $350 to $1,500 fine
  • Second offense: 45 days to 11 months and 29 days imprisonment; two-year license revocation; a $600 to $3,500 fine
  • Third offense: 120 days to 11 months and 29 days imprisonment; six-year license revocation; a $1,100 to $10,000 fine.

A fourth or any additional offenses are Class E felonies punishable by one year of imprisonment, an eight-year license revocation, and a $3,000 to $15,000 fine. For accidents that cause serious injuries, it is a Class D, B, or A felony, which have even more severe penalties.

DUI Defense Strategies for Tennessee Drivers

Drivers who are charged with drunk driving in Tennessee might be able to negotiate a plea bargain for a lesser charge of reckless driving. This plea deal is usually reserved for people who haven’t had any drunk driving convictions in the past.

Other possible defense strategies might be possible if the person who administered the chemical test did not advise you of your rights prior to asking you to take the chemical test or if the equipment wasn’t properly calibrated and maintained.

Facing drunk driving charges in Tennessee requires a strong defense. If you are facing these types of charges, seeking help from a qualified drunk driving lawyer can help you understand all of your options so that you can make an informed decision about your drunk driving defense.

Was this helpful?