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What Happens if I Get a DUI?

A DUI has severe consequences. If you get a DUI, a first offense for example, you have the range of punishment is up to eleven months and twenty nine days, with a 48-hour minimum. If your blood alcohol level is .20 or higher it is a seven day minimum. In some counties there are aggravating factors. The fine is a minimum of $350. You have to attend and complete an alcohol & safety class. You will lose your license for one year. You will need an ignition airlock device installed in your car, which is like a mini breath test machine. The cost of insurance will rise dramatically. The punishment for a DUI first offense is significant. In Tennessee there is no pre-trial or judicial diversion for a DUI. I have said before that a DUI is like a bad tattoo. It does not get removed. It's there forever and it stays on your record forever. You cannot get it expunged, it goes with you to the grave.

What is a DUI?

A DUI under Tennessee law can be accomplished in one of two ways. Either if your blood alcohol level is .08 or higher at the time of driving, or if your ability to operate a motor vehicle was impaired by alcohol and you lacked clearness of mind. It is very simple. You can be convicted under two theories of DUI - blood alcohol, or how your driving was impaired, affecting whether or not you were able to operate the vehicle safely. In Tennessee, a DUI can only be a felony if it is your 4th offense. Normally what the government does is look back through your record and see if you have any prior DUI arrests. The more you get, the worse it gets. For a 2nd DUI offense is a greater punishment, a 3rd is more punishment and a 4th is a felony. A felony DUI carries 1-6 years in prison, and carries a minimum of 150 days in jail. It gets progressively worse with the more you get, but for most folks a DUI is not a felony.
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