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Aggravating factors in DUI cases in Tennessee

It is clear that drunk driving is illegal and comes with strict consequences. Even a first-time DUI offense may come with one-year license revocation, fines up to $1,500, installation of an ignition interlock device, participation in an alcohol treatment program and a spike in car insurance. 

But some instances of DUI involve aggravating factors. These may increase the punishments that a driver faces. Here are some ways that a DUI case may become more serious. 

Child endangerment

Drunk driving with a passenger who is a minor (under 18 years old) is a serious offense that can warrant long jail sentences. If the child suffers a serious injury, the offense is a class D felony and may come with two to 12 years in jail. In situations with a child fatality, it is a class B felony with eight to 30 years in jail. 

Vehicular assault

If a DUI offender causes a serious injury to another person, he or she faces vehicular assault charges. This is a class D felony that can come with jail time of two to 12 years. The license revocation can last up to five years depending on the existence of any prior offenses. No restricted license is available during the revocation period.

Vehicular homicide

When a DUI driver causes a fatal crash, it is a class B felony offense. Jail time can be between eight and 30 years. The license revocation may be between three to 10 years with no restricted license.

Aggravated vehicular assault

This charge may arise if any of the following elements are present in the case:

  • Two or more DUI convictions or vehicular assault convictions or a combination of the two
  • One previous vehicular homicide conviction
  • A BAC of at least .20 or higher with one previous vehicular assault or DUI offense

Aggravated vehicular assault with a DUI is a class A felony, which is punishable by 15 to 60 years in prison and fines up to $50,000.

But there are defenses in every DUI case. If you have been arrested, sspeak with an attorney as soon as possible.

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