Similar to most US states, DUI (Driving Under Influence) cases in Tennessee fall under the category of misdemeanors. However, in certain cases, this may upgrade to a felony case. Whatever the category of the charge, you need a lawyer to prevent the conviction and the associated penalties. Availing legal help achieves even more importance when you are facing a felony DUI charge.
Which DUI charges classify as felony in your state? What penalties could you get in case of conviction? Here are the details.
If it is the 4th (or subsequent) offense, it is a Class E felony.
Penalties for this offense – jail term (a year with at least 150 consecutive days), fine ($ 3,000-$ 15,000), DUI School, license revocation (for 5 years), and if the judge decides, installation of ignition interlock device, and vehicle seizure.
If it is Vehicular Assault, i.e. an intoxicated driver causes serious injury to another; it is a Class D felony.
Penalties for this offense – jail term (2-12 years), and fines and court costs, along with license revocation for 1-5 years (based on the driver’s past record).
If it is Child Endangerment, i.e. the intoxicated driver had a child (under 13 years of age) in the vehicle; it is also a Class D felony if child suffers injuries and Class C felony if child death occurs.
Penalties for this offense – jail term (2-4 years for child injury and 3-6 years for child death) and license revocation.
If it is Vehicular Homicide, i.e. fatal crash caused by an intoxicated driver with .08 BAC (blood alcohol concentration); it is a Class B felony.
Penalties for this offense – jail term (8-30 years), fines and license revocation.
If it is Aggravated Vehicular Assault, i.e. if the intoxicated driver (a) has two or more prior DUI convictions and/or vehicular assault convictions; (b) has one vehicular homicide conviction; (c) has BAC of .20 or more; it is Class A felony. Penalties for this Tennessee DUI offense are the most severe – it includes jail term (15-60 years) along with fines.
It is wise to get in touch with a lawyer as soon as possible. Apart from leading to serious trouble, like imprisonment, such a charge, and conviction mars your criminal record. Only a capable lawyer is able to defend you against the charges. However, whether he/she would be able to prevent the conviction, or minimize them, depends on the specific circumstances of your case.
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Ashley Smith, a legal consultant, offers helpful tips for handling drunk driving defense related legal issues. If you are looking for more information on Tennessee DUI Offense and penalties, he recommends you to visit http://www.nashvillecriminallawyer.com/.