Every state has its own laws regarding how to handle those who drive while intoxicated, and the laws determine the consequences for both first-time offenders as well as multiple offenders. Tennessee drivers should know how their state laws govern DUIs and the increasing penalties that result for multiple offenses.
While first-time offenders are more common than multiple offenders in Tennessee, the penalties for multiple DUI offenses are harsher due to the fact that a repeat offender has already been given lighter penalties and continues to commit the same crime. Since more is at stake in a second or third DUI charge, it is important to understand the potential consequences.
First-time offense compared to multiple offenses
The penalties for a first-time DUI offense are not as serious as those for a multiple offender, but charges are designed to deter drivers from committing the offense again. A first-time DUI offender in Tennessee can expect to pay fees from $350 to $1,500, get a license revocation, and even spend time in jail from minimums of 48 hours or even seven consecutive days, depending on the level of alcohol found in the bloodstream.
Multiple offenders with two or more DUIs in Tennessee can expect much harsher penalties, however. In the example of a second-time offender, the jail time increases from a minimum of 45 days to a maximum of 11 months, 29 days. At this stage, authorities may revoke licenses for two years, and the fines are mandatory, from a minimum of $650 up to $3,500. There are other penalties as well. Clearly, the consequences for a second offense far outweigh the first-offense penalties.
Strategic defense and avoiding DUI
The best way to avoid the penalties of a DUI is to not get behind the wheel after having had too much to drink, but everyone makes mistakes sometimes. If police arrest you for a DUI, the important thing moving forward is to build a strategic defense so that you can work towards getting your life back on track. A DUI, whether it is your first or beyond, can seriously impact your career and future. With so much at stake, it is crucial that you seek an effective defense.