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Don't let a DUI derail your holidays

All it takes to ruin the holidays is an arrest for Driving Under the Influence. It's possible to be considered legally too drunk to drive without actually feeling buzzed.

Tennessee has implied consent laws, which means that for the privilege of being licensed to drive, you consent to blood alcohol content testing if suspected of impaired driving. Refusing to submit to BAC testing carries some serious penalties:

-- 1st offense: One year revocation of driver's license

-- 2nd offense: Two year revocation of driver's license

-- If you caused and accident with injuries while driving under the influence, you are subject to having your license revoked for two years

-- If someone died in a collision while you drove drunk, your license will be revoked for five years

Tennessee law also allows for even first time DUI offenders to spend between two days to nearly one year in jail. If your BAC was .20 or higher, you must stay behind bars for at least seven days in a row. This is in addition to losing your license for a year and having to attend drug and alcohol treatment, pay fines, fees and restitution.

Judges can also order the installation of an Ignition Interlock Device. You will be responsible for the installation and monthly maintenance fees.

The penalties only get steeper for each successive DUI charge you rack up in the ensuing months or years. Drunk driving convictions are responsible for many Tennessee residents winding up behind bars for months or years at a time.

To avoid these outcomes and consequences, it is vial to mount a vigorous defense to the allegations. As soon as possible after an arrest on criminal charges of drunk driving, insist on speaking to your defense attorney and refrain from answering questions or discussing your case with anyone else.

Source: Tennessee Department of Safety & Homeland Security, "DUI Offenses," accessed Dec. 18, 2015

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Law Office of Sam Byrd
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