Nashville DUI Attorney
The consequences of a DUI conviction can be just as detrimental over the long run as they will be in the immediate future. Aside from the fact that most DUI convictions require a prison sentence, you will lose your driving privileges for a period of time, have to pay harsh court-ordered fines, and potentially be designated as a felon. On top of everything, a conviction will be on your permanent criminal record, which may affect your future employment opportunities, ability to secure a loan, and even your living arrangements. That being said, if you or someone you love has been arrested on any DUI charge, you should reach out to Nashville DUI attorney Horst Law immediately. Our firm has the experience and resources you will need to defend your rights and protect your future when facing with any of the following charges.
Under Tennessee’s implied consent law, drivers are required submit to chemical analysis tests—including breath, blood, and urine tests—after being arrested on suspicion of DUI. Should you refuse to take a chemical test after you have been placed under arrest, you can and will be charged for violating this law. However, it should be noted that though the officer will have discretion to select which chemical test to administer, you may then select another independent test of your choosing as well.
The consequences of refusing to submit to a blood alcohol test are severe. Even if you have had a perfect driving record all of your life, your license will still be suspended for a full year if you are convicted of violating the implied consent law. Your license can be suspended for two years with any subsequent convictions on these charges. Driving privileges may also be revoked for a period of two years if the accident caused someone to get hurt and five years if the accident was fatal.
DUI – 1st Offense
Even a single DUI conviction could change your life. For starters, your license will be revoked for a full year after your conviction, at which time you will have to work through the complex process of getting your license reinstated. Until it is eventually reinstated, you will have to figure out a way to get to and from work, assuming that you do not lose your job. By the time everything is said and done, the state estimates that the overall cost of a first-offense DUI could be just under $5,000. Aside from the long-term consequences that a conviction is likely to have on both your livelihood and lifestyle, you will have to serve a mandatory minimum sentence of 48 hours in jail.
DUI – 2nd Offense
Each of the penalties that can be handed down with a first offense DUI will be enhanced if you are being charged with a second offense. In particular, convictions carry a mandatory minimum sentence of 45 days of jail time. Instead of losing your license for just a year, you will end up losing it for two full years—though it may be possible to obtain a Restricted License in that second year of revocation. Depending on the circumstances of your arrest, your vehicle may even be subject to seizure for forfeiture. If the arrest occurred within five years of a previous conviction, the court will order you to install an Ignition Interlock Device once you finally get your driving privileges back.
DUI – 3rd Offense
The mandatory minimum for a third offense conviction is 120 days of prison time. While the mandatory fines that you may have had to pay for your first and second convictions may have been hefty, the maximum mandatory fine for a third offense is almost tripled at $10,000. In addition to these more immediate consequences, the court will revoke your license for anywhere between six and ten years.
DUI – 4th and Subsequent Offenses
As frightening as the consequences of lower level DUI charges may be, they pale in comparison to the penalties that may be handed down with a conviction for a fourth offense. Convictions for fourth and subsequent offenses are Class E felonies that carry mandatory minimum sentences of a single year in state prison. On top of that, the courts will then revoke your license for eight full years. In the event that you are convicted of this offense, you will be ordered to pay anywhere between $3,000 and $15,000 in mandatory fines, in addition to the various other costs associated with your case.
Charges that allege a person who was under the influence of drugs or alcohol caused serious injury are prosecuted as Class D felonies. As such, a conviction will carry a mandatory minimum sentence of two years, though it will be possible that the courts could hand down a 12-year prison sentence. Depending on the number of prior DUI offenses you have been convicted of, your license may be revoked for up to five years.
The simple presence of a passenger under the age of 18 can result in a DUI charge being elevated to that of child endangerment. Though the base charge is only a misdemeanor, the charge will be further elevated to a Class D felony if the child sustains what is considered to be a serious injury in an accident; if a child is killed, the charges will be prosecuted as a Class B felony, which will carry with it an eight year mandatory minimum sentence.
When a driver is arrested with a BAC over 0.08 after causing a fatal accident, he or she will be charged with vehicular homicide, which is a Class B felony. Should a conviction be achieved, the driver will have to serve at least eight years in prison, though the sentence may be as high as 30 years.
Aggravated Vehicular Assault
Depending on the circumstances of the case, it is possible for vehicular assault charges to be elevated to an aggravated form of the charge, which is a Class A felony. That being said, anyone with two prior DUI convictions, two previous vehicular assault convictions, or any combination thereof will be charged with aggravated vehicular assault if they are alleged to have caused the wreck while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Additionally, a single prior vehicular homicide conviction will elevate what would otherwise be a vehicular assault charge to its aggravated form.
More DUI Information
A DUI charge can have serious effects on your freedoms, but there are also many ways to defend against drunk driving accusations.
- Drunk Driving – An Overview
- Nashville DUI Attorneys Discuss DUI Types
- Reliability of Breath-Test Results in a Drunk-Driving Case
- The Impact of a Drunk-Driving Conviction on Your Auto Insurance
- The DUI Trial
- The Prosecutor’s Role in a Drunk-Driving Case
- The Use of Ignition Interlock Devices in Drunk-Driving Cases
- Alternative Sentencing for DUI Charges
To learn more about the severity of your situation, get in touch with an experienced DUI defense lawyer.
Consult with a DUI Attorney in Nashville
If you or someone you love has been arrested for DUI, you should reach out to an attorney as soon after the arrest as you are able. Though the stakes will be high throughout the coming legal process, it is important to remember that you have not been convicted of anything yet and that you will still have the opportunity to defend your rights and protect your future with an attorney. To speak with Horst Law about a DUI arrest in Nashville and the particulars of your case, please call our offices at (615) 403-2971 today.