Tennessee drivers who find themselves facing felony DUI charges may not initially understand just how severe these charges are. If convicted of a felony charge, it can potentially negatively alter a person's life for an extended period of time.
The Tennessee Department of Safety & Homeland Security states that there are many different categories of DUI that can invoke a felony charge. This includes:
- Aggravated vehicular assault
- Child endangerment
- 4 or more DUI offenses
- Vehicular homicide
Aggravated assault is automatically a Class A Felony. For child endangerment accusations, a person could face a Class B Felony if the child dies and a Class D felony if they're seriously injured. This applies to anyone under the age of 18. Vehicular homicide is also a Class B felony. Cases in which someone is being charged with their fourth or higher DUI will earn a Class E felony.
FindLaw states that felony DUIs get enhanced penalties. For example, vehicular assault can result in a person paying $5,000 in fines on top of 1 to 5 years with a license revocation, and 2 to 12 years in prison. Vehicular homicide can land someone with 8 to 30 years in jail, 3 to 10 years of license revocation, and $25,000 in fines. As for child endangerment, there's a minimum 30-day jail sentence that must be served and a minimum fine of $1,000. Aggravated vehicular assault can lead to $50,000 in charges, as well as 15 to 60 years in prison.
It quickly becomes obvious that felony charges are much harsher than misdemeanor charges. A person who's facing felony charges could find themselves dealing with steep fees, long jail sentences, and much more if convicted, which is why understanding their severity is so vital.