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How Do Penalties for DUI in Tennessee Change When a Person is Injured or Killed?

Posted on in Criminal Defense

tennessee drunk driving defense lawyerMost people would agree that one of the most serious crimes you could be charged with is killing or seriously injuring another human being. When this happens as a result of driving a vehicle while you are under the influence of alcohol or drugs, you could face consequences not only for DUI, but also for injuring another person. In Tennessee, injuring another person while driving under the influence (DUI) is referred to as vehicular assault, while killing another person as a result of DUI is referred to as vehicular homicide. Both offenses are extremely serious and can result in harsh consequences upon conviction.

What is Vehicular Assault?

According to Tennessee law, vehicular assault occurs when a person is driving while under the influence and imposes serious bodily injury upon another person. Vehicular assault is charged as a Class D felony and carries a potential sentence of two to 12 years in prison and up to $5,000 in fines. The severity of certain aspects of the penalties for vehicular assault depends on the number of DUI-related offenses you have had. For example, a person who has never faced any type of DUI offense would face a minimum of 48 hours in jail before any other sentence began, in addition to a one-year driver’s license suspension.

Understanding Vehicular Homicide

You do not necessarily have to be intoxicated to have committed vehicular homicide. There are a variety of actions that could be included under the vehicular homicide statute. Tennessee law states that vehicular homicide occurs when a person recklessly kills another person while operating a vehicle if their conduct created a substantial risk of death or serious bodily injury, their behavior was a result of driving under the influence, if a person was drag racing or if they were in a construction zone and the victim was a highway worker or construction worker.

Vehicular homicide is a Class B felony when a death occurs because a person is driving while under the influence. Class B felonies in Tennessee carry a potential sentence of eight to 30 years in prison and up to $25,000 in fines. Like vehicular assault, vehicular homicide penalties can depend on the number of prior DUI-related offenses. A first-time DUI offender charged with vehicular homicide can face a minimum of 48 hours in jail, even with a sentence of probation or supervision.

Our Campbell County DUI Defense Lawyers Can Help

Being charged and convicted with DUI can be a life-changing experience. Being charged and convicted of DUI resulting in serious injury or death of another person can be even more life-changing. At the Law Office of William F. Evans, we can help you form a defense for any type of DUI charge you may be facing, including those involving injury or death to another person. To schedule a free consultation with our Jacksboro, TN DUI defense attorney, call our office today at 423-449-7980.




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