Every state has specific laws regarding impaired driving. In each, drunk driving is considered a criminal offense and the consequences can be quite severe if a conviction is achieved. What are the guidelines and consequences for drunk driving in Tennessee?

A driver who is found to have a blood alcohol level at or above .08 percent can be charged with DUI. The severity of the charge will depend on several factors. These may include:

  • Total blood alcohol level
  • Age of driver
  • If an accident occurred resulting in injury or death
  • Number of DUI offenses on one’s record

If a driver is thought to be impaired, roadside physical and chemical sobriety tests may be performed by a law enforcement officer. If an accident with injuries has occurred, though, chemical testing may be done after transport to a hospital — usually via blood testing. Tennessee drivers are permitted to refuse such testing; however, in doing so, there are consequences.

Penalties for drunk driving in Tennessee include license suspension, mandatory alcohol education and treatment, possible vehicle confiscation, and possible ordered use of an ignition interlock device. Individuals will face jail or prison time as well, and the length of jail time depends on the severity of the offenses. Those who refuse blood alcohol testing will typically have their licenses automatically suspended. No matter the severity of the offense, one who has been accused of impaired driving does have the right to fight any criminal charges in court. In doing so, it may be possible to have charges dismissed or any associated penalties minimized.

Source: FindLaw, “Tennessee DUI Laws“, Accessed on Aug. 10, 2016