Being arrested and charged with driving under the influence (DUI) is a frightening experience for most people. If you are charged with an aggravated DUI, you face even tougher penalties and repercussions which increases the stress and anxiety of facing criminal charges. Understandably, you may be wondering “How can a DUI lawyer near me help?” To answer that question, a Murfreesboro DUI attorney at Bennett | Michael | Hornsby explains how a DUI can be “aggravated” and what additional penalties you may face if convicted of an aggravated DUI.
Tennessee DUI Law
Tennessee Code § 55-10-401 et seq. governs the criminal offense of driving under the influence (DUI). The basic offense of DUI is defined as driving a motor vehicle while:
- Under the influence of any intoxicant, marijuana, controlled substance, controlled substance analogue, drug, substance affecting the central nervous system, or combination thereof that impairs the driver’s ability to safely operate a motor vehicle by depriving the driver of the clearness of mind and control of oneself that the driver would otherwise possess. OR
- The alcohol concentration in the person’s blood or breath is eight-hundredths of one percent (.08 %) or more.
What Makes a DUI an Aggravated DUI?
The presence of various additional facts and circumstances can elevate a basic DUI charge to an aggravated DUI. Among the most common aggravating factors are:
- Previous conviction for DUI
- Exceptionally high BAC level
- Presence of a child in the vehicle
- Injury accident
In addition, while not technically considered an “aggravated” DUI, if the driver is under the legal drinking age or the holder of a commercial driver’s license (CDL), additional penalties may apply.
What Are the Additional Penalties for Aggravated DUI in Tennessee?
If you have been charged with an aggravated DUI, you likely face penalties in addition to the penalties you would face for a basic DUI. As a point of comparison, penalties for a first-time, non-aggravated DUI include 48 hours to 11 months and 29 days in jail, a fine of $350-$1,500, and a one-year license revocation.
The following are examples of potential penalties for an aggravated DUI in Tennessee. Keep in mind that this is not a complete list of potential penalties:
- Repeat offender penalties:
- 2nd offense. 45 days to 11 months and 29 days in jail, $600-$3,500 mandatory fine, a two-year license revocation, and subject to vehicle seizure and forfeiture.
- 3rd offense. 120 days to 11 months and 29 days in jail, a $1,100-$10,000 mandatory fine, a six-year license revocation, and subject to vehicle seizure and forfeiture.
- 4th or subsequent offense. One year in jail with a mandatory 150 consecutive days, a $3,000-$15,000 mandatory fine, an eight-year license revocation, and subject to vehicle seizure and forfeiture
- High BAC. A BAC of 0.20 or higher for a first offense carries a minimum of seven days in jail.
- Child endangerment. If there is a child under the age of 18 in the vehicle, penalties include possible felony charges, two to 12 years in jail or 8 to 30 years if a child is killed, and license revocation.
- Vehicular assault. If serious injury to another person occurs, you may face felony charges, two to 12 years in jail, and a license revocation of one to five years.
- Aggravated vehicle assault. If any of the following conditions are present, you may be charged with a class A felony:
- Two or more prior DUI convictions, vehicular assault convictions, or a combination of the two.
- One prior Vehicular Homicide
- A BAC of .20 or greater at the time of the vehicular homicide has one prior DUI or Vehicular Assault offense
How Can I Contact a DUI Lawyer Near Me?
If you have been charged with aggravated driving under the influence in Tennessee, it is in your best interest to consult with a Murfreesboro DUI attorney at Bennett | Michael | Hornsby as soon as possible. Contact the team today by calling 615-898-1560 to schedule your free appointment.
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