In Tennessee, do you know what will happen if you get pulled over for driving under the influence? Are you aware of the Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) tests or limit? Whether you live in the state or are just passing through, educating yourself about Tennessee DUI laws doesn’t hurt.
The laws are similar and straightforward just like most states. However, they do carry some hefty fines and penalties. We’ve laid out the basics about thelaws. Read on to discover information about what happens when you’re pulled over, BAC testing, and the penalties for various offenses.
Tennessee DUI Laws
What Is the Blood Alcohol Concentration Limit?
Tennessee DUI laws state that the BAC general limit for those 21-years-old or older is 0.08%. Drivers who are under the age of 21 will be held to a no-tolerance level of 0.02%. For commercial drivers, they are held to a level of 0.04%.
What Happens If I Get Pulled Over?
If the officer suspects you of being intoxicated, you will be asked to step out of your vehicle. This is asked because the officer wants you to perform one or more field sobriety tests. These tests can vary. For example, you may be asked to walk in a straight line, turn around, and repeat the steps.
Additionally, the officer can ask you to balance on one foot or follow a moving object with just your eyes. Upon further suspicion of driving under the influence, an officer will ask you to take a breathalyzer test.
Can I Refuse the BAC Test?
You have the full right to refuse to any requested urine, blood, or breathalyzer test. You may even refuse to the other field sobriety tests. Be aware, however, that Tennessee DUI laws follow the Implied Consent Law that makes refusal costly.
What Happens If I Refuse It?
The Implied Consent Law dictates if you’re arrested on suspicion of a DUI, then you involuntarily consent to chemical testing. As such, if you refuse, you automatically fail the test. So, an officer can inform you that you’ll lose your license if you refuse.
On a first offense refusal, your license is suspended for one year. A second and third offense refusal can see your license suspended for two years. If you’re convicted even if your refused to testing, you’ll have to install an Ignition Interlock Device on your car.
Can I Plead “Wet Reckless”?
With Tennessee DUI laws, it’s possible to get a lesser charge with a plea bargain, otherwise called “wet reckless”. To do so, you will need to speak with a qualified attorney to see the possibilities for your specific case.
What Are the Penalties I Should Expect?
Penalties under Tennessee DUI laws are extremely strict. A first time offender has to face a minimum jail time of 48 hours. Vehicular assault or child endangerment comes with a Class D felony. The fines can be flexible, but they can escalate above $1,000 rather quickly.
Your license will always be revoked. The length of time depends on your offense and the seriousness of your charges. In addition, you’ll more than likely have to attend an alcohol and drug treatment program. Additional penalties can include restitution payments if you were involved in a crash that harmed someone.
First Offense DUI
You can face anywhere from 48 hours up to 11 months and 29 days in jail. A fine of $350 – $1,500 will be added. Your license will be revoked for one year. Average court and administrative costs including attorneys, towing, insurance, etc. can reach up to $4,900.
You’ll be required to participate in an alcohol and drug treatment program. In some cases, a judge can order the installation of an Ignition Interlock Device at your expense. The minimum cost of it for the first year can exceed $1,000.
Second Offense DUI
You will face 45 days to 11 months and 29 days of jail time. One must also pay a mandatory fine of $600 – $3,500. For two years, your license will be revoked. A Restricted License will be available after the first year.
Your vehicle can be subjected to seizure/forfeiture, and you’ll have to attend a drug and alcohol treatment program. The judge may order an Ignition Interlock Device installed at your expense.
Third Offense DUI
You’ll be facing 120 days to 11 months and 29 days in jail with $1,100 – $10,000 mandatory fines. Your vehicle is subjected to seizure/forfeiture, and you’ll lose your license for 6 – 10 years. There is no restricted license available.
An alcohol and drug treatment program must be attended. Furthermore, a judge can order you to install an Ignition Interlock Device.
Fourth Offense DUI
With the fourth and subsequent offenses, you’ll have a Class E felony. Jail time will be one year (365 days) with a minimum of 150 consecutive days served. You will lose your vehicle to a seizure/forfeiture, while your license is revoked for eight years without restriction available.
You must attend an alcohol and drug treatment program. In addition, the judge could order an Ignition Interlock Device installed at your expense.
In conclusion, Tennessee DUI laws are among some of the strictest in the nation. There is jail time regardless of if it’s your first offense. As they adhere to the Implied Consent Law, your refusal of a test can still result in a conviction. Their laws are still rather straightforward, however. With the ability to plead “wet reckless”, you can wind up with less penalties and fines in the end. Nonetheless, you can still avoid all this by obeying the state laws.
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