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Experienced Maryville DUI Defense Attorneys

Serious Defense When You’re Arrested For Drunk Driving In Blount County, Tennessee

There are few crimes treated with more gravity – or more disdain – than a DUI. But for many people, driving under the influence is the result of a poor decision, not a conscious desire to break the law. When facing DUI charges, you want an attorney who understands that making a mistake doesn’t make you a bad person.

At Shepherd & Long, our DUI and criminal defense attorneys have protected the rights of the people of Maryville and East Tennessee for over 30 years. We understand how a DUI conviction can affect all parts of your life for far longer than you might expect, and how frightening it can be to face those charges. We strive to create a stress-free environment for you to tell your side of the story and create strategies designed to protect you in the face of a DUI conviction.

Understanding The Consequences Of A Tennessee DUI

If arrested and convicted of a DUI, the potential penalties depend on whether or not it’s your first offense, whether or not you caused injury to other people or property, and other factors. The average Maryville driver faces a drunk driving charge if they blow a .08 or more during a breath test, whereas a commercial truck driver needs to only blow a .04.

Additionally, If you refuse the breath test – which is within your legal rights – you may be subject to a blood test. You will also have your license revoked due to Tennessee implied consent laws, and commercial drivers could lose their commercial driver’s license (CDL) permanently.

A first-time DUI offender may face:

  • Jail time. Most drivers are sentenced to between 48 hours and 11 months, 29 days. However, if your blood alcohol content (BAC) is above .20, you will go to jail for a minimum of seven consecutive days.
  • Fines and fees. The fines associated with a DUI range between $350 and $2500, but you will be ordered to pay restitution to anyone injured or hurt because of your mistake. You’ll also be responsible for any additional towing costs, bail and reinstatement fees.
  • Loss of license. Your license will be revoked for one year – no exceptions. However, our attorneys may be able to secure you a restricted driver’s license.
  • Ignition interlock devices (IID). In Tennessee, a judge has discretion over whether first-time offenders must install an IID. If ordered to do so, you’ll need to pay for that as well.

These penalties increase dramatically if there is a child under the age of 18 in the car with you or if someone is seriously injured or killed because of a DUI-related crash. In both cases, the DUI charges become felonies, which carry mandatory prison time.

What is Tennessee’s implied consent law?

If you are pulled over or arrested for suspicion of driving under the influence, it is likely the police officer will ask you to submit to a chemical test. This test measures your BAC level, and under Tennessee’s implied consent law, you must submit to this test or face certain penalties, including license revocation for a year. If a drunk driving offense caused injury or death to another person, your license could be revoked for two to five years, in addition to other applicable penalties.

What are the penalties for DUI in Tennessee?

Here in Maryville and throughout East Tennessee, the penalties for a DUI conviction increase by the number of offenses.

1st DUI Offense

  • 48 hours up to one year in jail
  • Minimum jail time of one week for .20 BAC or more
  • Fines from $350 to $2,500
  • License suspension for one year

Other Possible Penalties

  • Ignition interlock device (IID) installed at your expense
  • Community service
  • Restitution for injuries and losses
  • Child endangerment penalties (for passengers under 18)
  • Alcohol and drug treatment programs

2nd Tennessee DUI Offense

  • 45 days up to one year in jail
  • Fines from $600 to $3,500
  • License suspension for two years
  • Ignition interlock device
  • Alcohol drug and treatment programs

Other Possible Penalties

  • Vehicle subject to seizure or forfeiture
  • Child endangerment penalties (if the passenger is under 18)
  • Community service
  • Restitution for injuries and losses

3rd Tennessee DUI Offense

  • 120 days up to one year in jail
  • Fines from $1,100 to $10,000
  • License suspension  for six years
  • Alcohol and drug treatment programs
  • Ignition interlock device

Other Possible Penalties

  • Vehicle subject to seizure/forfeiture
  • Child endangerment penalties (if the passenger under 18)
  • Community service
  • Restitution for injuries and losses

Fourth and subsequent DUI offenses are Class E felonies, punishable by up to six years in prison.

If I’m pulled over by a police officer, am I required to take a field sobriety test?

No. Law enforcement can ask you to take a field sobriety test (FST), but you have the right to refuse it. There is no legal penalty for refusing to consent to an FST, but an officer isn’t required to inform you of this right. Law enforcement can arrest you if they believe you are driving under the influence, but refusal to take a field sobriety test cannot be held against you.

Can I still drive in Tennessee after a DUI arrest?

If you have a valid Tennessee driver’s license, and unless ordered otherwise by the court, you may continue to drive while your DUI case is pending. Your license is usually only revoked if you are convicted of a DUI charge, or if you violate our state’s implied consent law.

How long will a DUI stay on my record?

A drunk driving conviction will always remain on your record, as DUIs are typically not eligible for expungement. However, there may be rare exceptions. Contact the DUI defense attorneys at Shepherd & Long to find out more details. Our job is to ensure you do not get convicted in the first place.

Maryville Drunk Driving Defense Attorneys Protecting Your Rights

Facing a DUI conviction is hard, but choosing the right lawyer isn’t. When you work with Shepherd & Long, you work with an attorney directly. Talk to us today about your case and how we can help. For more information or to schedule a consultation, call us at 865-383-3118 or fill out the contact form. We regularly represent clients in Madisonville, Oak Ridge, Lenoir City and throughout East Tennessee.