Being arrested for the first time can be a very stressful and frightening experience. If you are facing your first driving under the influence/driving while intoxicated (DUI/DWI) charge, you may be feeling humiliated, unsure of what to do next and full of questions about your future. You want to know what to expect and what type of consequences you may face.
Even a first-time offense can have serious consequences and you should know about all possible penalties as well as your legal options. It is very important to contact a criminal law attorney to start building your defense as soon as possible.
First DUI conviction, possible penalties
DUI offenses are classified as misdemeanors in Tennessee, however, the penalties can be serious and can increase depending on the offense (first, second, third, fourth or more). Penalties for a DUI conviction will also depend on the facts and circumstances of the arrest. Here are some possible penalties associated with a first-time DUI conviction:
- Jail time from 48 hours to 11 months and 29 days
- Fines from $350 to $1,500
- License suspension for up to one year
- Mandatory participation in a drug and alcohol treatment program
- Court fees and administrative costs
- Court ordered restitution (if applicable)
In addition, a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .20 or more can result in increased penalties in TN such as a restricted license and requiring an ignition interlock device, even for a first-time offense.
Importance of preparing a strong defense
Beyond the possibility of fines, license suspension and jail time, there may be additional negative consequences for a DUI conviction. The stigma of having a DUI conviction on your record can reach all aspects of your life after your penalties have been paid or jail time has been served. Some additional consequences may include:
- Increased motor vehicle insurance premium costs and/or difficulty getting approved for a new insurance policy (including life insurance, medical insurance, car insurance and others)
- Loss of your professional license (i.e. pilot, lawyer, doctor, ect...)
- Difficulty gaining future employment
- Difficulty being accepted into a higher education program
- Inability to rent a motor vehicle
- Inability to possess a firearm
All the possible consequences of a DUI conviction are the reasons that it is so important to have a knowledgeable attorney investigate all aspects of your case. Every case is different and the outcome is very dependent on what took place. This includes evidence from the arrest, like blood test results, field sobriety test results and any possible mistakes made by the arresting officer. An attorney can evaluate your case and build a strong defense based on your legal options.
Contact the Law Office of Sam Byrd at 423-954-7949 and schedule a free consultation to get started protecting your rights. Attorney Byrd will answer your questions, explain what to expect and help you attain the best possible outcome based on the facts of your situation.