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Are Multiple DUI Offenses Considered Felonies in Tennessee?

Posted on in DUI/DWI

Campbell County multiple DUI criminal defense attorney

Most of the time, first-time offenders charged with driving under the influence (DUI) of drugs or alcohol are not given as serious charges as those who are accused of subsequent offenses. A first-time DUI may result in fines, a minimum of 48 hours in jail, and the requirement to go through a treatment program. Serious cases involving injuries or death are given stiffer penalties. However, for the most part, the state of Tennessee tries to make sure that first offenders will not be convicted of another DUI offense. The more convictions on a person’s record, the harsher the punishments will be.

What Happens if a Driver Reaches Four DUI Offenses?

With each DUI conviction, a driver sees his or her license revoked for a certain amount of time: one year for first offenses, two years for second offenses, and six years for third offenses. Drivers are able to apply for a restricted license during the period of revocation.

Punishments become more severe when a driver is charged with his or her fourth DUI offense. This conviction will be considered a Class E felony with the following penalties:

  • One year in prison with a consecutive term of 150 days

  • $3,000-$15,000 in fines

  • License revocation for eight years with the option for a restricted license

  • Possible seizure of the driver’s vehicle

  • Mandatory treatment program

  • Installation of an Ignition Interlock Device (IID)

An Ignition Interlock Device is a tool that does not allow a car ignition to start if the driver blows into a breathalyzer and his or her blood alcohol content (BAC) is over the legal limit (0.08 percent). If a driver has been convicted of two DUIs in the span of five years, he or she will be required to have this device installed.

The Impact of Drinking and Driving

Felony convictions are something that can never go away, and they can make it hard for an offender to lead an unrestricted life after a conviction. A legal record tarnished with multiple DUI convictions can make it difficult for someone to get a good job, buy a house, or -- for minors -- to get into the college of their choice. On top of that, DUI convictions can hurt the driver’s reputation in his or her community; he or she could be labeled an alcoholic or a dangerous person by those in the neighborhood.

Unfortunately, the driver is not always the only person whose life can change from drinking and driving. Other people on the road are in danger when a person drinks and drives. This is why offenders can face other penalties if they make the choice to drive impaired:

  • Reckless driving charges could be applied because the DUI driver is putting other people in danger.

  • Vehicular Assault, which is a Class D felony, could be charged if a DUI driver causes serious injury to another person with his or her vehicle.

  • Vehicular Homicide, which is a Class B felony, could be charged if a DUI driver kills another person while behind the wheel.

Contact a Jacksboro, TN Drunk Driving Defense Attorney

It can be scary to have to fight a subsequent DUI charge after being convicted of a first charge. However, severe punishments can be avoided with the help of an experienced drunk driving attorney. The lawyers of the Law Office of William F. Evans have valuable experience defending clients in every type of DUI case. We can help investigate arrests to make sure your rights were not violated, and we will work with you to form a strategy that will help you achieve the best possible outcome. To schedule a free consultation with a Campbell County multiple DUI lawyer, call our office today at 423-449-7980.




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