Under normal circumstances, looking in the rearview mirror of your vehicle and seeing flashing red and blue lights is an unwanted annoyance because it likely means wasted time and a hefty traffic ticket. If, however, you see those flashing lights and you realize you have been drinking, that unwanted annoyance turns into fear. After all, the only sure way to prevent an arrest for driving under the influence, or DUI, is to not get stopped. If it’s too late for that though, you need to focus your energy on avoiding a conviction if possible, and certainly avoiding jail as well. To dramatically increase the odds of staying out of jail you need to retain the services of an experienced Murfreesboro DUI attorney right away.
DUI Myths – You Won’t Go to Jail the First Time
Many people operate under the mistaken belief that you can’t, or won’t, go to jail for a first-time DUI conviction. While that was generally the case many years ago when it was common to receive nothing more than the proverbial “smack on the hand” for a DUI conviction, it is no longer true today. In the State of Tennessee, a first time DUI conviction carries a potential penalty of anywhere from 48 hours in jail up to 11 months and 29 days in jail.
Moreover, if there are aggravating factors present in even a first time DUI you will face increased penalties. For example, if you had an extremely high breath alcohol content (BAC) the potential penalties are increased. If your BAC level was 0.20 percent or higher (the presumptive limit is 0.08 percent in Tennessee) you face a minimum of seven consecutive days in jail for a first time conviction. If you caused serious injury to someone (usually an occupant of another vehicle) while you were driving under the influence, you may be charged with a D felony and face two to 12 years in prison if convicted. Likewise, if you had a child under the age of 18 in the vehicle with you the State may charge you with child endangerment if the child suffers a serious injury, also subjecting you to a possible sentence of two to 12 years in prison.
Subsequent DUI Offenses
As you might well imagine, if you have a previous conviction for driving under the influence you will face considerably harsher penalties if convicted this time around. For a second DUI conviction the minimum time in jail increases to 45 while a third conviction requires a minimum sentence of 120 days in jail if convicted. A fourth, or subsequent, DUI conviction carries a minimum sentence of one year in jail with a minimum of 150 consecutive days served.
How Can a Murfreesboro DUI Attorney Help?
One of the most important ways that a Murfreesboro DUI attorney can help you is to ensure that you understand the charges against you and the penalties you face. It is imperative that you don’t assume you could not end u serving a jail sentence – because you could. From there, your DUI defense attorney’s next steps will depend on the individual facts and circumstances of the case; however, one thing he/she will likely do is review the stop itself to see if the police officer had a valid legal to conduct the stop. If the stop was illegal, any evidence gathered during or after the stop is likely inadmissible in court which could lead to a dismissal of your charges. Your attorney may also challenge the results of the breath test, if you took one. Even if it appears a conviction is imminent, your Murfreesboro DUI attorney will work hard to negotiate a favorable plea agreement that keeps you out of jail so you may go one with your live instead of paying a heavy price for a (hopefully) momentary lapse in judgment.
If you have been charged with a driving under the influence in the State of Tennessee, it is in your best interest to consult with the experienced Murfreesboro, Tennessee DUI defense attorneys at Bennett, Michael & Hornsby. Contact the team today by calling 615-898-1560 to schedule your appointment.