A driver who is arrested for a third DUI within 10 years of two earlier DUI arrests faces serious criminal and administrative penalties.
A third DUI conviction in Tennessee within 10 years will result in license revocation for a period of 6 to 10 years. There is no restricted license available upon a third conviction. Additionally the judge may order an ignition interlock device on your vehicle(s) or seizure or forfeiture of the vehicle(s). A second DUI within 5 years incurs mandatory ignition interlock device.
Upon conviction for a third DUI in Tennessee, you will be fined between $1,100 and $10,000. You may also have to serve time in the county jail or workhouse for not less than 120 days nor more than 11 months and 29 days. Other possible penalties include drug and alcohol assessment as well as participation in an alcohol safety school program.
To determine penalties, the state of Tennessee will look back on prior convictions going back as far as 10 years. Any additional offenses within this time frame will be counted individually and will enhance penalties.
In Tennessee, a DUI becomes a Class E felony upon a fourth or subsequent conviction. Penalties are increased with imprisonment set at a term of at least 150 consecutive days and no more than the appropriate maximum sentences set out by statute. The court prohibits the offender from driving a motor vehicle for 5 years. Fines range from $3,000 to $15,000.
A third DUI in Tennessee does not bar a court from considering an offer of a plea agreement if the defendant pleads guilty. Prosecutors also consider plea agreements if they feel they may lose the case. In a plea agreement, the court will require things like voluntary community work in addition to payment of all court costs in exchange for some leniency such as a probated sentence. However, Tennessee's statutes require that under a third conviction, the minimum sentence imposed must be served before the remainder of the sentence may be excused.
An experienced lawyer may be able to get the charges dropped or plea down depending on any circumstances in your favor.