A third-offense DUI (driving under the influence) conviction in Tennessee generally results in driver's license suspension, a fine, and a few months in jail. Lots of factors can come into play with sentencing, but the following are the minimum and maximum consequences of a third DUI in Tennessee.
A DUI is considered a third offense in Tennessee if the driver has two prior DUI convictions within the past ten years. However, in deciding how to sentence a third offender, the judge can take into consideration any DUI convictions up to 20 years back. Other factors such as injuries and deaths can enhance the penalties, but ultimately, it's up to the judge to decide the penalties within the ranges set by law.
Jail time. A third-offense DUI generally carries a minimum of 120 days in jail, with a possible maximum of 11 months, 29 days. And if the driver had a passenger under the age of 18 at the time of the offense, the judge must add 30 days to the mandatory jail (150 days in total). After the minimum is served, it may be possible for the convicted person to earn jail-time credit for doing highway cleanup service.
A judge can also allow an offender to serve jail time on work release. By doing work release, the offender can maintain employment if he or she returns to jail each night.
Probation. Once the offender serves the minimum jail time, the judge can suspend the remaining jail term and place the offender on probation. As part of probation, the offender will normally need to complete a substance abuse assessment and treatment program. The offender might also be required to use an alcohol-monitoring ankle bracelet for a period of time.
Fines. A person who's convicted of a third DUI must pay fines of $1,100 to $10,000.
In addition to the criminal penalties, the judge will also suspend the driver's license for six years.
Restricted license. Judges are permitted to grant a third offender a temporary restricted license, allowing the driver to operate a vehicle for work, school, or treatment purposes. However, the offender must install an ignition interlock device to be eligible for a restricted license.
Forfeiture. A third DUI conviction can also lead to the forfeiture of the vehicle used in the commission of the DUI. The law allows the judge to order forfeiture, but it isn't mandatory.
If you've been arrested for driving under the influence in Tennessee, make sure you get in contact with a DUI lawyer. An experienced local DUI attorney can help you understand what you're up against and counsel you on how best to handle your situation.