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How Is DUI Within a School Zone Punished in Tennessee?

Posted on in DUI/DWI

Campbell County DUI school zone lawyer

Driving under the influence (DUI) is illegal in all 50 states. Tennessee passed a bill earlier this year to make the penalties for DUI offenses within a school zone more severe. Since most pedestrians in school zones are children, the need for safe driving is more important in order to keep the young ones protected from injury. The new law, which was introduced and passed in February, states that anyone driving under the influence in a school zone will be subject to double the punishment for an ordinary DUI offense outside of the school zone. For misdemeanor offenders, this means that both fines and prison terms will be doubled.

New Tennessee Law

The new Tennessee law for DUI offenses within school zones also covers:

  • Felony DUI charges will be sentenced one degree higher if the DUI violation occurs in a school zone.

  • Implied consent violations will be double the penalty if done in a school zone.

  • Underaged DUI within a school zone with face double penalties in regards to driver’s license suspension and fines owed.

  • Violators facing vehicular assault or homicide charges while intoxicated in a school zone will be punished to one degree higher than a regular DUI violation.

Even when sober, a school zone is an area of the roadways where one must be ever vigilant of young kids going to school. Being intoxicated puts the children--and the adults with whom they cross the road--at risk of injury or even death.

Avoiding School Zone Accidents

In today’s world, children and teenagers tend to focus their attention on their cell phones or other electronic devices while walking. This distraction is one factor which contributes to minors being struck by motor vehicles while going to school. It helps to have crossing guards wherever the children need to cross the streets, but in some areas, the children are on their own.

A driver can protect the safety of minors by staying alert and aware of all the people around his or her vehicle while driving through school zones. If a child suddenly cuts into the road, a motorist must be prepared to stop before an accident with serious consequences occurs.

The biggest way to avoid hitting a child is to know the speed limit and keep to it. Once the limit has been set, drivers must obey the rule or else risk being pulled over by a police officer or worse, hitting a child. Most school districts set a particular speed limit in their school zone based on:

  • Is there a sidewalk?

  • Is there a crossing guard?

  • Is there a fence around the school property?

  • Where is the school’s location?

  • How small or large are the traffic gaps for kids to cross?

Of course, pedestrians have their own rules they must follow, and violations of these may cause them to be at fault if a car hits them. Pedestrians should always look both ways before crossing the road, obey traffic lights, and only cross in designated crosswalks marked with white stripes.

Contact a Campbell County DUI Defense Attorney

Any traffic violation in a school zone is taken very seriously in the state of Tennessee. If you are facing DUI charges while driving in a school zone, you need skilled legal representation. A diligent attorney from the Law Office of William F. Evans will carefully examine the circumstances of your arrest and build a strong defense. Call our office today at 423-449-7980 to schedule a complimentary consultation with a Jacksboro, TN criminal defense lawyer.




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