Tis the season for celebration! Try not to ruin it with a DUI. Don’t mess up your holiday by celebrating too much and getting behind the wheel. We recommend lining up a sober driver lined up or taking an Uber or taxi if you’ve had too much to drink at that holiday party. However, people don’t always make great decisions when they’re having fun, so knowing that facts is key. To help you out this holiday season, we answer some frequently asked questions about DUI laws and punishment in Tennessee. (If you’re already in trouble, call McKeehan Law Group at (865)294-8008.)

FAQs About DUI in Tennessee

  1. What is a DUI in Tennessee? In the state of Tennessee, a person whose blood-alcohol level is determined to be 0.08 or greater will be considered impaired and likely charged with Driving Under the Influence (DUI). (DUI can also cover the influence of drugs, but we’ll cover that in another blog post.)
  2. Are DUI checkpoints legal? Yes. Tennessee law considers DUI checkpoints a legal action. Remember: Be mindful of police behavior at the checkpoint because they must follow certain rules. These rules grant drivers specific rights if claimed.
  3. Is driving under the influence a felony or a misdemeanor in TN? The first DUI offense in Tennessee is considered a misdemeanor, as are DUI numbers two and three. Keep in mind if you receive a fourth DUI conviction, your charge bumps up to a Class E felony.
  4. In Tennessee what happens after conviction for a first offense? You will spend a minimum of 48 hours in jail with a much higher threshold for punishment after a conviction for driving under the influence. Additionally, consequences can include up to 11 months and 29 days in jail, plus loss of license for a year, fines, court cost and/or community service hours.
  5. How long does a DUI stay on your record? In Tennessee a conviction for driving under the influence will stay on your record for life. Repeat offender status happens only after a second conviction for driving under the influence within 10 years.
  6. What happens when you get a second DUI in Tennessee? If that second conviction occurs within 10 years of the first, there are serious consequences. A conviction can result in jail time anywhere from 45 day to 11 months and 29 days. In addition, the court collects a mandatory fine totaling anywhere from $600 to $3500, plus you lose your driver’s license for 2 years.
  7. Can a DUI conviction be expunged in Tennessee? No. As mentioned above, a conviction remains on your record for life in Tennessee. However, Tennessee courts provide an opportunity for record expungement if they dismiss your charges or they otherwise don’t result in a conviction.
  8. Is your license immediately suspended after being arrested? Your license is not suspended while your case is pending. As a matter of fact, only a conviction for driving under the influence results in license suspension.
  9. Does a DUI show up in a background check? If you are convicted of driving under the influence, the answer is yes it will show up in a background check. However, background checks include convictions only. This means a simple arrest or suspicion of driving under the influence remains off the record. When a case is pending or verdict remains outstanding, a background check might include them.
  10. How much is DUI school in TN? Sometimes a conviction results in a defendant attending DUI school. In Tennessee, there are multiple choices. The cost of these schools varies, because of this it’s best to do your own research. Often attendance to these schools or classes can be part of a plea deal and lessen your charge substantially. That makes whatever the cost a solid investment. 

Hiring a Lawyer

If you do find yourself in trouble for driving under the influence, the experienced DUI attorneys at McKeehan Law Group are available to help. Don’t forget that it’s always a good idea to hire representation, so contact us today for a free consultation.