According to the latest statistics presented by Responsibility.org, there were a total of 295 alcohol-impaired driving accidents in Tennessee in 2012 alone. Driving under the influence (DUI) or driving while intoxicated (DWI) poses several risks to drivers and their vehicles, and can severely damage surrounding properties as well as endanger innocent people.
While a first offense DUI isn’t considered a felony, but rather a misdemeanor, it can be elevated to one if the accident causes someone else’s injury or if the defendant is known to be a repeat offender. Charges for individuals who acquired a first DUI offense differ from those individuals with prior convictions.
Charges for First Offense DUI
An article from About.com noted, “It does not matter if you did not appear intoxicated, was not staggering or slurring your words. If you had a BAC above .08 in all 50 states that means you were in fact driving under the influence, under the “per se” laws.”
According to Tennessee state laws, first-time offenders can be charged with 48 hours up to 11 months of jail time, be fined with an amount ranging from $350 to $1500, and have their licenses suspended for one year.
Charges for DUI with Prior Convictions
While charges vary from state to state, the penalties generally become more severe with every conviction, which is why consulting with trusted lawyers in Gallatin, TN comes highly recommended.
Jail time for the 2nd offense lasts from 45 days up to 1 year, while fines range from $1,100 to $10,000. The driver’s license can be suspended for two years.
The 3rd offense, on the other hand, has a required jail time of 120 days up to 1 year, with a fine ranging from $1,100 to $10,000 while license suspension can last from 3 up to 10 years.
The 4th DUI offense that an individual acquires is now considered a felony, and has the heaviest penalty. Depending on the scenario, the defendant can face a jail time of 150 days to 6 years, be fined with an amount ranging from $3,000 to $15,000, and have the driver’s license suspended for 5 years or more.
Acquiring your first DUI offense can be a strenuous experience, and obtaining another offense with a record of previous convictions is even more so. While most first offense DUIs make pretty straightforward cases, those with prior convictions will benefit greatly from consulting with a skilled DUI attorney. Reputable lawyers like Kenneth J. Phillips, Attorney at Law can help with the proceedings and competently represent the defendant in court.
(Source: What Happens If You Are Arrested for DUI?, About.com)