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Tennessee passes laws for stricter penalties for drunk driving

Tennessee lawmakers have recently passed legislation that will bring stricter penalties for those who have been convicted of driving under the influence. According to the new laws, a judge will order those convicted of drunk driving to have an ignition interlock device installed in their vehicles. In the past, only certain people convicted of DUI were required to have these devices installed because a judge needed a valid reason to order it.

It is estimated that only 15 to 20 percent of people with DUI convictions in the state currently have ignition interlock devices in their vehicles. According to the new legislation, drivers with a DUI must have an ignition interlock device in their cars for 365 days or for the entire time that the driver's license is suspended. If the device is removed before the time is up, that person will be required to start over with the 365-day requirement.

The new laws also indicate that if an ignition interlock device is tampered with in the last 120 days of that sentence, that driver will be required to have it in his or her vehicle for an additional 120 days. These ignition interlock laws indicate how the penalties for drunk driving continue to increase in severity, cost and long-term impact in Tennessee. Those arrested for DUI would be wise to take steps to protect their interests.

With the help of an experienced lawyer, it is possible to defend against drunk driving charges. In order to mitigate potential penalties, a driver should seek a legal opinion regarding his or her legal options as soon as possible after an arrest. Everyone has the right to protect his or her own interests when facing criminal charges.

Source: columbiadailyherald.com, "Session sees passage of legislation strengthening Tennessee's DUI laws", May 2, 2016

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