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Monday, September 26, 2011

Mandatory Minimum Consequences (Penalties) of a DUI Conviction in Tennessee

By:  David G. Ridings, Nashville Criminal Defense Attorney

I recently taught a Continuing Legal Education (CLE) Class for attorneys in Nashville, TN on the Basics of handling a DUI case.

As a Nashville Criminal Defense Attorney, and a former Nashville Metro Police Officer… most of my examples were based upon a practice in the Nashville General Sessions and Criminal Courts.  However, it was a basic class on handling your first DUI case in any county, and there were some good references for such in the course material.  You can find information on obtaining a recording of that class by clicking here.  

One of the things covered, of course, were the Mandatory Minimum consequences of a DUI conviction in Tennessee.  Here is a short summary of the course material that I prepared for the class, which is also a summary of the Code regarding the penalties for a DUI Conviction in Tennessee.

a.              Tennessee Code Annotated § 55-10-403 provides for the mandatory minimum consequences of a DUI conviction in Tennessee.  The following are examples of such for the respective DUI offenses…
i.      1st DUI – Minimum 48 hrs. in jail, $350.00 fine, Alcohol Safety School, and loss of license for One (1) year.
ii.    2nd DUI –Minimum 45 days in jail, $600.00 fine, Alcohol Safety School, and loss of license for two (2) years.
iii.   3rd DUI- Minimum 120 days in jail, $1,100.00 fine, Alcohol Safety School, and loss of license for three (3) years.
iv.   4th DUI – Considered a Class E Felony, Mandatory Minimum of 150 days in jail, Alcohol Safety School, $3,000.00 fine, loss of license for five (5) years.  

b.               Enhanced sentencing under the code. 
i.      According to Tenn. Code Ann. § 55-10-403, In addition to the other penalties set out for a first offense violation, if at the time of the offense the alcohol concentration in the person's blood or breath is twenty hundredths of one percent (.20%) or more, the minimum period of confinement for the person shall be seven (7) consecutive calendar days rather than forty-eight (48) hours.[Amended effective January 1, 2011]
c.                In addition to the above penalties, the Judge has the discretion to order the defendant to complete 24 hours of Community Service Work (to be performed as liter detail, picking up trash while wearing a jumpsuit that says "I AM A DRUNK DRIVER").
d.              Notwithstanding the mandatory minimums as set out in the code, there are a number of enhancements that could apply to a person convicted of a DUI that could raise the mandatory minimum jail time.  For example,
i.               if at the time of the offense, the person was accompanied by a child under eighteen (18) years of age, the person shall be punished by a mandatory minimum incarceration of thirty (30) days and a mandatory minimum fine of one thousand dollars ($1,000).
ii.              Notwithstanding subdivision (a)(1)(A), if, at the time of the offense, the person was accompanied by a child under eighteen (18) years of age, and the child suffers serious bodily injury as the proximate result of the violation of § 55-10-401, the person commits a Class D felony and shall be punished as provided in § 39-13-106, for vehicular assault.
iii.             Notwithstanding subdivision (a)(1)(A), if, at the time of the offense, the person was accompanied by a child under eighteen (18) years of age, and the child is killed as the proximate result of the violation of § 55-10-401, the person commits a Class B felony and shall be punished as provided in § 39-13-213(b)(2) for vehicular homicide involving intoxication.
Whether it is your first offense, or a multiple offense, a DUI conviction carries serious penalties that can drastically effect your driver's license, your employment, and your freedom.  If you have been charged with a DUI, particularly in Nashville, Tennessee, you need the best Nashville DUI Attorney you can find.  You need an experienced Nashville Criminal Defense Attorney.  Contact us today for your free consultation and see what can happen when you have experience on your side in the courtroom for your DUI charge.

If you need an experienced Nashville Criminal Attorney, contact Ridings Law Group, P.C. today


David G. Ridings, Criminal Law Attorney
Office: 615-851-1888
Cell:    615-394-7611