While Tennessee legislators continue to increase the penalties for driving under the influence (DUI) offenses, many drivers are unaware of the severe penalties for multiple DUI convictions. If they are charged with a repeat DUI, a defendant may be subject to mandatory jail time, large fines, and other sanctions. Contesting the charge with the assistance of a criminal defense attorney may be a strategic way to prevent an additional DUI conviction or avoid some of the harsh penalties. With decades of legal experience, Nashville DUI lawyer Bernie McEvoy has vigorously defended drivers in Davidson and Williamson Counties against not only their first DUI charge but also a second or subsequent charge.Tennessee Laws for Repeat DUI Offenses
Driving under the influence (DUI) of drugs or alcohol may lead to a police arrest and criminal charges. In Tennessee, it is illegal to drive or be in physical control of a motor vehicle on any public road, highway, street, or alley, or on any premises that are generally frequented by the public, if you are under the influence of marijuana, narcotic or stimulant drugs, or any other intoxicant, such as alcohol. In addition, a driver may be charged with a DUI offense if a chemical test indicates an alcohol concentration of .08 percent or more.
A driver’s first DUI offense is generally a Class A misdemeanor, unless someone was injured or the facts of the case require a more serious charge under Tennessee law. The second and third DUIs will also be charged as Class A misdemeanors as long as there are no aggravating circumstances. All DUI offenders may be required to attend a drug and alcohol treatment program and have a breathalyzer device installed on their vehicle at their own expense. However, if they are convicted of a second or third DUI, the driver will be subject to greater penalties. A second-time DUI offender could face a mandatory jail sentence ranging from 45 days to 11 months and 29 days, a fine of $600 to $3,500, and the revocation of their license for two years. Penalties for a third DUI offense are increased, with a minimum jail sentence of 120 days, a maximum fine of $10,000, and a driver’s license revocation period of up to six years.
A fourth or any subsequent DUI is a felony offense in Tennessee. In addition to severe penalties, a felony conviction could have a long-lasting impact on one’s employment opportunities and financial situation. A driver arrested for a fourth or fifth DUI may be charged with a Class E felony, punishable by a mandatory minimum of 150 days in jail and a possible one- to six-year sentence, a $3,000 to $15,000 fine, and an eight-year driver’s license revocation period.
A recent change in Tennessee law elevated six or more DUIs from a Class E felony to a Class C felony offense. Consequently, a DUI offender convicted of a Class C felony faces an increased potential jail sentence of three to five years. Persistent offenders, defined under Tennessee law as having two previous felony DUI convictions and at least four misdemeanor DUI convictions, may be subject to more severe penalties.
Considering the potential consequences of a repeat DUI conviction in Davidson or Williamson County, drivers should seek representation from a criminal defense attorney. A qualified lawyer can examine the facts of the case and arrest to determine an appropriate defense strategy, and they can fight back if the prosecution attempts to use inadmissible evidence against the defendant. In some situations, negotiating a plea bargain to reduce the charge or the sentence may be appropriate.Retain a DUI Defense Lawyer in Nashville or Surrounding Areas
Nashville attorney Bernie McEvoy has significant experience representing people in DUI cases and other criminal matters, such as drug or sex charges. He can provide legal guidance to residents of many communities in Davidson and Williamson Counties, including Nashville and Franklin. Schedule a free consultation by contacting the Law Office of Bernie McEvoy online, or by calling (615) 255-9595, or (615) 804-8779 after business hours.