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What is the Difference Between DUI and Reckless Driving Charges in Tennessee?

Posted on in DUI/DWI

Campbell County DUI Defense AttorneyIf you have been arrested and charged with DUI in Tennessee, you may face serious consequences. However, an arrest does not mean that a conviction is inevitable. You have the right to be represented by a defense attorney who can help you prepare a defense strategy and work to ensure that you are treated fairly. One strategy that could be successful is making the case that your charges should be reduced to reckless driving.

Defining DUI and Reckless Driving

Under Tennessee law, the offense of DUI is defined as driving or being in control of a motor vehicle while under the influence of an intoxicant or controlled substance, such as alcohol, marijuana, or another drug. Driving or controlling a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of at least 0.08 also meets the legal definition of DUI in Tennessee.

Reckless driving, on the other hand, requires no evidence of alcohol use or intoxication. There are a few specific situations that constitute reckless driving in Tennessee, but in general, a person commits the offense of reckless driving if they operate a motor vehicle with “willful or wanton disregard” for other people or property.

Differences in Sentencing

As a defendant, perhaps the most important difference between a DUI charge and a reckless driving charge is the possible penalties associated with each sentence. If you are convicted of DUI in Tennessee, even for a first offense, you face a minimum confinement sentence of 48 hours, which can be extended up to 11 months and 29 days. You also face fines of up to $1,500, the revocation of your driver’s license for one year, and other possible consequences including court-ordered alcohol or drug education and treatment. Repeat DUI convictions can result in much more serious penalties.

If you are instead convicted of reckless driving, you face the lesser penalties associated with a Class B misdemeanor. There is no minimum confinement sentence for reckless driving, and the maximum sentence is only six months. Fines are also capped at $550, and there is no automatic revocation of your driver’s license.

Of course, avoiding conviction altogether is the best possible outcome when you are facing DUI charges, but reducing your charges to reckless driving may be a more realistic option if the prosecution has solid evidence of your unsafe driving behavior but lacks reliable evidence of your intoxication.

Contact a Campbell County DUI Defense Lawyer

If you are facing DUI charges, our experienced Jacksboro DUI defense attorney at The Law Office of William F. Evans will help you explore all possible defense strategies. We have successfully helped many clients fight DUI charges, and we will do everything in our power to help you avoid conviction or secure a lesser sentence. For a free consultation, contact us at 423-449-7980.



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