In some situations, an arrest for driving under the influence (DUI) in Tennessee can result in a criminal charge with enhanced penalties. An aggravated DUI allows for more severe punishment when certain factors are involved in a drunk or drugged driving case. For many drivers, understanding the consequences of an aggravated DUI is helpful when evaluating their options in a criminal case. Nashville DUI lawyer Bernie McEvoy can provide advice and defense representation to people who are facing an aggravated DUI charge in Davidson or Williamson County.Aggravated DUI in Tennessee
In Tennessee, you can be arrested for driving while under the influence of alcohol, illegal drugs, marijuana, or a controlled substance. You will likely be charged with a DUI if a chemical test indicates that you were driving with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or more. A Tennessee DUI offense carries harsh penalties, such as mandatory jail time, fines, substance abuse treatment, a driver license suspension, and an ignition interlock device on your vehicle. In an aggravated DUI case, moreover, the penalties that may be imposed for a conviction are greater.
An aggravated DUI in Tennessee may arise when specific circumstances are present or alleged in a DUI case. One such factor is a high BAC level. In a DUI case in which the defendant had a BAC level of 0.20% or higher, the offense carries a mandatory minimum of seven days in jail. The mandatory minimum applies to first-time offenders, as well as others. This sentence is significantly longer than the 48-hour mandatory minimum imposed in an ordinary DUI case.
Drunk or drugged driving with a child is also a situation that triggers an aggravated DUI. If the defendant was arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, and a child was also in the vehicle, the defendant could face an aggravated DUI as well as a child endangerment charge. A DUI while accompanied by a child under 18 is punishable by a mandatory minimum of 30 days in jail, in addition to the sentence imposed for the DUI violation, and larger fines. In DUI cases in which the minor was seriously injured or killed, felony charges may be filed against the defendant as well.
A DUI accident caused by an intoxicated driver may lead to an aggravated DUI if someone suffered a serious physical injury. In these situations, the defendant will typically face a felony charge for vehicular assault. If someone was killed as a result of a DUI accident, the defendant may be charged with vehicular homicide. A high BAC level, prior DUI convictions, and other aggravating factors can lead to enhanced penalties.
In many cases, an aggravated DUI is prompted by the defendant’s criminal history. A defendant who was previously convicted of one or more DUI offenses in the past 10 years will be subject to enhanced penalties if they are convicted on the current DUI charge. The prior convictions may be for offenses such as driving under the influence in Tennessee or any other state, vehicular assault, aggravated vehicular assault, vehicular homicide, aggravated vehicular homicide, and other drunk or drugged driving crimes occurring within the last 10 years. Generally, repeat DUIs mean a longer mandatory minimum jail sentence, a greater fine, and other increased penalties. In addition, a fourth or subsequent DUI is elevated from a misdemeanor to a felony offense.Retain a DUI Defense Lawyer in the Nashville Area
A skilled Nashville attorney can help you oppose the harsh penalties involved in a DUI or aggravated DUI case. Attorney Bernie McEvoy has significant experience fighting for defendants who have been charged with felony or misdemeanor offenses. He can assist clients in communities throughout Williamson and Davidson Counties, such as Franklin and Nashville. Set up an appointment to discuss a DUI charge by contacting the Law Office of Bernie McEvoy online, calling our daytime phone number at (615) 255-9595, or calling (615) 804-8779 after business hours.