Tennessee – home of the Grand Old Opry, Nashville, and greenery as far as the eye can see. But while you’re enjoying the sites and sounds of this beautiful state, make sure you’re not doing so while drinking and driving. In 2013, Tennessee became the 19th state to enact an all-offender ignition interlock law, and they have harsh penalties for anyone who drives under the influence.
A first driving under the influence (DUI) offense in Tennessee is costly.
In addition to bail, towing fees, attorney fees, high risk insurance premiums, and reinstatement fees that add up to almost $5,000, you’ll also receive the following penalties:
- For offenders with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 to .20, you’ll receive 48 hours up to 11 months in jail.
- For offenders who have a BAC over .20, you’ll receive a minimum of 7 consecutive days in jail
- You’ll have to pay fines up to $1,500
- You’ll lose your driver’s license for one year
- You may be required to install an ignition interlock device for one year
- You’ll be required to pay restitution to anyone who suffers from injury or personal loss
- You may be asked to attend a Drug and Alcohol Treatment program
If you receive a second DUI conviction in Tennessee, the penalties are even more severe.
- You’ll spend anywhere from 45 days up to 11 months in jail
- You’ll pay mandatory fines ranging from $600 to $3,500
- You’ll lose your driver’s license for 2 years, with a restricted license available after the first year
- You may have your vehicle seized or be required to forfeit it
- You’ll have to install an ignition interlock device for a period of time as determined by the judge
- You’ll be required to pay restitution to anyone you hurt or who suffered loss because you choose to drink and drive
According to Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), Tennessee saw 295 drunk driving fatalities in 2012, and that number was up by 14% from the year before. With the new ignition interlock requirements in 2013, the number of alcohol-related fatalities has dropped to 211. Hopefully they’ll see that number continue to drop as more ignition interlock devices are put into place for all-offenders in Tennessee.