Tennessee DUI Laws, Fines and Penalties

Learn about the penalties for a DUI conviction in Tennessee.

Need Professional Help? Talk to a Local Defense Attorney.

Enter Your Zip Code to Connect with a Lawyer Serving Your Area

searchbox small

What are the penalties for a DUI in Tennessee?


1st Offense

2nd Offense

3rd Offense

4th Offense

Jail

48 hours up to 11 months

45 days up to 1 year

120 days up to 1 year

150 days up to 6 years

Fines and Penalties

$350 to $1,500

$600 to $3,500

$1,100 to $10,000

$3,000 to $15,000

License Suspension

1 year

2 years

3 to 10 years

5 Years to Indefinite

IID** Required

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Lookback Period: 10 years (Period of time that prior DUIs are relevant for sentencing. Also known as a “washout” period.)

**Ignition Interlock Device

How much do you have to drink (BAC*) for a DUI in Tennessee?

Under 21

.02%

21 or older

.08%

Commercial

.04%

** BAC = blood alcohol content

How many drinks does it take? Check the BAC chart.

You may want to try our BAC Calculator, however I wouldn't let any results encourage you to drink and drive.

What if you refuse to take a chemical test in Tennessee?

Tennessee has an implied consent law. That means that if you refuse to submit to a chemical test you will be subject to a fine and automatic license suspension. Learn more about Tennessee’s implied consent law.

 

1st Offense

2d Offense

3rd Offense

Refusal to take test

1 year license revocation

2 year license revocation

2 year license revocation

Disclaimer: While we strive to keep this information up to date and accurate, it's important to understand that it's based on your states legislature. Your local courts, judges, district attorneys office and even local law enforcement will have a huge impact on how the law is actually applied in any given case. No amount of legal information can replace the advice of a local attorney familiar with DUI cases in your area.

Can you plead to a lesser offense than DUI in Tennessee?

A defendant might receive a "wet reckless," or a conviction of reckless driving involving alcohol, as a result of a plea bargain in which a charge of drunk driving is reduced to a case of reckless driving. There is no statutory provision on whether a wet reckless plea bargain will be accepted in Tennessee, but it's possible a lawyer may be able to create a plea bargain for you.

New Tennessee DUI Laws

Effective June 23, 2010, Tennessee enacted several changes. Under the new amendments, Tennessee’s previous 10-year calculation for a prior conviction is now recalculated from violation to violation. Now in Tennessee, a first-time offender faces a minimum jail sentence of 48 hours and a second-time offender will have to serve a minimum of 45 days in jail, pay more stringent fines and lose driving privileges for a longer period of time.

Drinking and Driving Laws in Tennessee

In the State of Tennessee, it is illegal to drive with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or above. The .08 BAC limit is the standard measure for the "impaired" driver throughout the United States. In Tennessee, the .08 limit is lower for commercial drivers (.04) and drivers under the age of 21 (.02). Tennessee's DUI law also includes driving under the influence of controlled substances such as marijuana, amphetamines, inhalants and other intoxicants.

How many drinks does it take to reach the legal limit in Tennessee? This question is often asked by drivers that want to know how many drinks they can have before they reach the .08 BAC limit. There isn't one single formula that can predict with certainty each individuals BAC score based on number of drinks consumed, however there are charts and calculators that can serve as a reference. These tools do not consider all variables in the DUI calculation and should only be used as a reference.

The best answer is not to drink and drive. The State of Tennessee has strict laws for drunk driving, and when you drink and drive in Tennessee, you risk your freedom, finances and your future.

The first time you are arrested and convicted of drunk driving in the State of Tennessee you will be sentenced to jail from 24 hours to 11 months. Your drivers license will be revoked for 1 year and you will be fined $350-$1,500. You will be ordered by the court to attend a DUI school and you may be ordered to have an ignition interlock device installed on your vehicle at your own expense. Other costs for your first DUI are towing, bail, lawyer, court costs, DUI school and reinstatement fees that all add up to about $4,900.

The second DUI you are convicted of in Tennessee will result in a fine from $600-$3,500. You will also be sentenced to jail for 45 days up to 11 months. Your drivers license will be revoked for 2 years, however the court may allow you to drive with a restricted license after 1 year of your sentence has been served if you have completed a court ordered DUI school. You vehicle will become subject to seizure or forfeiture by the State of Tennessee or the judge may order you to install an ignition interlock system at your own expense.

For your 3rd arrest in the State of Tennessee you will be ordered to serve from 120 days to 11 months in jail. You will also pay a mandatory fine of $1,100-$10,000. Your drivers license will be suspended for 3-10 years and there will be no allowance for a restricted drivers license. You vehicle will become subject to seizure or forfeiture by the State of Tennessee or the judge may order you to install an ignition interlock system at your own expense.

The 4th time you are arrested for drunk driving in the State of Tennessee is a Class E Felony. you will be ordered to serve 1 year in jail with 150 of the days served consecutively. You will also pay a mandatory fine of $3,000-$15,000. Your drivers license will be suspended for 5 years and there will be no allowance for a restricted drivers license. You vehicle will become subject to seizure or forfeiture by the State of Tennessee or the judge may order you to install an ignition interlock system at your own expense.

by: , Attorney

Talk to a Lawyer

Start here to find defense attorneys near you.
HOW IT WORKS
how it works 1
Briefly tell us about your case
how it works 2
Provide your contact information
how it works 1
Choose attorneys to contact you
LA-NOLO3:DRU.1.6.1.20140626.27175