Tennessee First Offense DUI Laws

how to beat a first offense dui charge in tennessee
tennessee first offense dui laws and penalties, fines, license suspension, sr22 filing

In Tennessee, it is illegal to drive a vehicle if you are impaired by alcohol. If you are caught doing so, you will be charged with Driving under the Influence (DUI).

Tennessee enforces an implied consent law, which means that, by driving on the roads in Tennessee, you are agreeing to submit to a chemical blood alcohol test if asked to do so by law enforcement. If law enforcement finds your blood alcohol content (BAC) to be 0.08 or higher, you will be charged with DUI. However, no matter what your BAC, if law enforcement finds evidence that you are driving while impaired, e.g., swerving, driving too slow or fast, they can still charge you with a DUI.

If you have been charged with a DUI, the best thing you can do for yourself is to contact an experienced DUI lawyer. Tennessee DUI laws are complex, the penalties are harsh, and the costs are expensive. You will want and need help, especially if this is your first offense. A good DUI lawyer can save you thousands of dollars and even more stress.

Tennessee First Offense DUI Penalties:

Penalties for a first offense DUI in Tennessee include, but are not limited to:

  • 48 hours in jail
  • $350 to $1500 in fines
  • 1 year revocation of your driver's license
  • Restitution payments, if applicable
  • 6 month ignition interlock requirement
  • Court costs
  • SR22 insurance requirement

Before your driver's license will be reinstated you will be required to perform an SR22 filing. You can obtain your SR22 insurance policy and filing by entering your zip code below and completing the short form on the following page:

The State of Tennessee has also provided for several embarrassing stipulations. If you apply for a state photo ID card, which many people need to have while they don't have a driver's license for photo identification, it will say "DUI Offender" on it. You will also be required to pick up litter in your home county for three 8 hour shifts, wearing a vest that says, "I am a drunk driver".

When your license is revoked, you must turn it in to the Department of Safety within 20 days. If you fail to do so, you will be fined an additional $75.

Aggravating Factors:

If your BAC was 0.20 or higher, your jail time may be increased to 7 days.

If your DUI incident led to the injury of someone else, you could be charged with aggravated assault. If the incident led to death of someone, you could be charged with vehicular homicide.

If you had a child under the age of 18 in the vehicle at the time of your DUI, you face at least 30 days in jail and a $1,000 fine. If the child is injured, you will be charged with a Class D felony. If the child dies, you will be charged with a Class C felony of aggravated child endangerment. 

Tennessee Restricted License:

Because this is your first offense, you may be eligible for limited driving privileges. A judge may grant you a restricted license, which would allow you to drive to and from work, school, church, litter pickup duty, alcohol treatment, probation meetings, and ignition interlock appointments. 

Tennessee SR22 Insurance:

Tennessee requires first time DUI offenders to carry SR22 insurance. When you purchase an SR22 insurance policy, your insurance company will file an SR22 form with the Department of Safety, which will prove to them that you are in fact insured.

SR22 insurance is considered a high-risk insurance, and it can be expensive, but some companies do offer competitive rates. You can compare some of those by clicking the button below:

how to fight a first offense dui charge in tennessee and win

Additional Tennessee DUI Resources

  • Tennessee DUI Laws - A complete overview of Tennessee DUI laws including fines, jail time and penalties for each offense.

  • Tennessee SR22 Insurance -  Learn everything you need to know about Tennessee SR22 filing requirements with the DMV and find out how you can save hundreds of dollars each year on your TN SR22 insurance.

  • Tennessee DUI Lawyers - Contact one of our Tennessee DUI lawyers today.

  • Tennessee DUI Schools - We offer a complete listing of state approved Tennessee DUI school programs.