Tennessee's Drugged Driving Laws

How drug use can result in a DUI charge in Tennessee and the penalties that result from a conviction.

By , Attorney

Tennessee not only prohibits drunk driving but also driving under the influence (DUI) of drugs. The penalties for a drug DUI are generally the same as those for an alcohol-related offense.

This article discusses how Tennessee defines drugged driving and the consequences of a violation.

Drugged Driving Defined

A Tennessee motorist can be convicted of a drug DUI for driving or being in "actual physical control" of a vehicle while under the influence of any intoxicant, marijuana, controlled substance, controlled substance analog, drug, substance affecting the central nervous system, or combination thereof.

For purposes of the state's DUI laws, under the influence means being impaired to an extent that the driver's ability to safely operate a motor vehicle is affected.

Drugged Driving Penalties

The consequences of a Tennessee drugged driving conviction depend on the circumstances. But generally, a DUI carries the following possible penalties:

  • First offense. A first DUI conviction generally carries a fine of $350 to $1,500, 48 hours to nearly 12 months in jail, and a one-year license suspension.
  • Second offense. For a second DUI within 20 years, the offender is generally looking at 45 days to nearly 12 months in jail, $600 to $3,500 in fines, and a two-year license suspension.
  • Third offense. Generally, a third DUI within 20 years carries 120 days to nearly 12 months in jail, $1,100 to $10,000 in fines, and a six-year license suspension.

Some offenders are eligible for a restricted license for driving during a suspension. However, an ignition interlock device (IID) is a requirement to obtain this type of license.

Getting Legal Help

Tennessee DUI law is complex, and the facts of every case are different. If you've been arrested for driving under the influence, talk to an experienced DUI attorney in your area. A qualified DUI lawyer can tell you how the law applies to the facts of your case and help you decide on the best course of action.

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