DUI FAQ in Tennessee

Getting a DUI is a scary and potentially confusing situation. The following should help you make sense of it all and have an idea of what comes next.

Can I go to jail if I get a DUI?

If you are convicted, Tennessee law mandates that the minimum you are going to spend in jail for your first DUI offense is 48 hours, but it could be up to 11 months and 29 days. If you have been convicted in the past or there are additional circumstances such as personal injury or death involved, you could be facing substantially more jail time and potentially the addition of serious felony charges.

Am I going to lose my license?

If you are convicted of a first offense DUI, you will lose your license for 1 year. If you are convicted of a 2nd offense DUI, you will lose your license for 2 years. If you are convicted of a 3rd offense DUI, you will lose your license for 3-10 years. If you are convicted of a 4th or subsequent DUI not only is the DUI charge a felony, but you will lose your license for a minimum of 5 years but it could be indefinite. Given the circumstances, you could be given the status of a Habitual Motor Vehicle Offender which could lead to a felony conviction for each time you are found to be driving while labeled as HMVO. A restricted license can be obtained in some circumstances, which will likely require the installation of an ignition interlock device and a special SR22 insurance policy to be purchased before you can legally drive again.

I didn’t take the breath test for my blood alcohol level. Is this going to affect my case at all?

On the one hand, refusing a breath test will prevent the state from having evidence that could be used against you in court. But under Tennessee law, anyone who drives on a public roadway by default gives something called “implied consent” to submit to a chemical test regarding their intoxication. If you do not take the test, you can have your license suspended for 1 year. This can even happen if your DUI charge is later reduced or even dismissed entirely.

I took the breath test and am pretty sure I failed, probably pretty badly. What’s going to happen?

If you have a blood alcohol content of .08 percent or greater, you are legally presumed to be intoxicated. A lot of individuals, including prosecutors, believe that these machines are infallible tools that determine if you are actually drunk. In fact, these machines can fail just like anything can and a good DUI attorney will know what to look for and ask for to determine if the machinery is calibrated correctly. Also, if your BAC comes back over .2, Tennessee law allows for prosecutors to seek enhanced punishments above and beyond the statutory minimums.

Can a DUI conviction be removed from my record later on?

Unfortunately, no. There is a “lookback period” of 10 years, after which any future DUI will be looked at once again as your first offense. In the case of a felony, it can often be expunged from your record eventually, but a misdemeanor DUI will stay on permanently. The best way to avoid a DUI on your criminal record is to avoid being convicted by any possible means.

What are good traits to look for in a ?

Experience is important, as is a dedication to practicing DUI law. At the end of the day, what you need the most is someone who is competent at handling cases such as yours. Herbert & Lux is a law firm that understands the legal and scientific aspects of your case, and can help it go as far in your favor as possible.