In Tennessee, drunk driving is also referred to as driving under the influence, or DUI. Most states set their own laws when it comes to blood alcohol concentration limits, license revocations, criminal sentences and implied consent for drivers. According to FindLaw, when a driver’s BAC is .08 or higher in the state, the driver is considered legally drunk. If the BAC hits .20 or higher, there are additional penalties for drinking and driving.
For those under the age of 21, there is a zero-tolerance policy, and a DUI can be the result of a BAC as low as .02. If a person between the ages of 16 and 20 is found guilty of impaired driving, they may receive a fine, have their license revoked and be asked to do community service by the court.
For first time DUI offenders, the state has a mandatory jail time of 48 hours. If the BAC was higher then the minimum jail time is a full week. Even a first-time offender can receive a fine up to $1,500 and up to 11 months in jail for the offense. Drug and alcohol treatment programs are often required, and the license may be revoked for 12 months.
The penalties increase for second- and third-time offenders. There are also enhanced penalties is a child under the age of 18 is in the car with an adult driver. If the child dies, the charge is a Class B felony and if they are injured it is a Class D felony. Injuries and criminal history are also factored in when a sentence is determined.
Drivers who refuse to submit to a blood alcohol test may lose their license for a year or two. If someone was killed in the accident and the driver refuses the test, they may lose their license for up to five years. Anyone charged with DUI may benefit from consulting with an attorney as quickly as possible.