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Campbell County criminal defense attorney DUI

The legal drinking age across the country is 21 years old. Anyone younger than that who drives while impaired by alcohol will face serious consequences. Minors who drive drunk risk losing their driving privileges if caught, but they also put those around them at risk of serious injury or death. Tennessee takes underage drinking and driving seriously, and because of the potential risks, a child who drinks may not be the only one facing criminal punishment. Whoever provided the minor with alcohol or drugs may also face misdemeanor or even felony charges.

Consequences of Driving Drunk as a Minor

Tennessee has three main laws that attempt to control the number of minors who drink illegally. In instances when a minor is caught drinking or attempting to purchase alcohol, he or she can still be charged under these laws, even if he or she is not driving. Tennessee’s Driving While Impaired law applies to minors aged 16-20 who have not yet hit the age of legal alcohol consumption. If caught driving drunk, a minor will have his or her license revoked and pay a fine of up to $250. The court may also require the minor to complete community service hours.

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Campbell County first-time DUI defense attorney

Many people who drink do not realize how much alcohol can impair a person's motor skills, including the ability to drive a car. Therefore, they do not understand that drunk driving -- or even just “buzzed” driving -- is dangerous not only to themselves but to people around them. The state of Tennessee does not take a DUI charge lightly, regardless if it is a first offense or a fourth. Of course, punishments become more severe the more DUI convictions a driver has. Depending on the circumstances of the incident, a driver can face other consequences if he or she causes injury or wrongful death to any victims.

What to Expect After a First DUI Conviction

It is important to know that a DUI conviction is considered a misdemeanor violation that remains on a driving record for the remainder of a motorist’s life. A DUI conviction does not become a felony in Tennessee until the fourth and subsequent offenses.

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Campbell County drugged driving defense attorney

The state of Tennessee enacted 18 new laws starting the first of the new year, one of which looks to decrease or put an end to the number of drugged drivers who hit the road while under the influence. Tennessee’s new opioid law that took effect on January 1, 2020, is meant to keep hard drugs out of the hands of people who should not be taking them. It will require that all opioid prescriptions be sent directly to pharmacies via an electronic note from a doctor. Opioid prescriptions will no longer be filled with a written prescription. The hope is that the drugs will stay with the patients who need them for medical purposes, lessening the likelihood that people will drive while under the influence of drugs.

Penalties for DUI Drugged Driving

Tennessee is giving pharmacies the entire year of 2020 to update their equipment in order to receive electronic opioid prescriptions. That means at the start of 2021, written prescriptions will no longer be available.

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Campbell County driver's license reinstatement attorney

There are many violations in Tennessee that can result in the suspension of a driver’s license, including driving under the influence of drugs/alcohol (DUI), inability to provide proof of insurance, and excessive accumulation of negative points on a driver's record. In regard to DUI suspensions, it can be a long and costly process in order to reinstate a license before a driver can legally get back on the road. Since most people drive every day, it is important to learn the proper procedures for license reinstatement if you are a Tennessee motorist. 

Penalties that Come with DUI License Suspension

Punishments for driving under the influence can be given out to adults over the age of 21 and minors who are under the legal drinking age. Minors will have their license revoked for one year if their blood alcohol content (BAC) is over 0.02 percent, and the court system can order extra punishments as it sees fit. An offender could also pay a fine of $250 and/or be required to complete a certain number of community service hours.

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Campbell County DUI defense attorney

Driving under the influence does not limit the “influence” to alcoholic beverages. In the state of Tennessee, a driver can be convicted of DUI if he or she has taken any type of intoxicating substance -- including marijuana -- prior to getting behind the wheel. Even those who take drugs legally for medical purposes can be charged with DUI if they cause a car accident with prescription medication in their systems. Furthermore, anyone who chooses to drive while under the influence of drugs must submit to a chemical and/or field sobriety test if pulled over. A driver is allowed to refuse these roadside tests, although this may result in being arrested on suspicion of DUI. Following an arrest, a driver will usually be asked to take a chemical blood alcohol test at the police station or through blood being drawn at a hospital, and refusal of these tests will result in a driver’s license revocation for at least one year.

Tennessee Law Against Drugged Driving

The more times a driver is convicted of a drug-related DUI, the more severe the penalties. If a driver is convicted more than three times, the subsequent offenses are charged as felonies that are punishable with fines, jail time, and loss of driving privileges. Sentences for a conviction include:

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Campbell County multiple DUI criminal defense attorney

Most of the time, first-time offenders charged with driving under the influence (DUI) of drugs or alcohol are not given as serious charges as those who are accused of subsequent offenses. A first-time DUI may result in fines, a minimum of 48 hours in jail, and the requirement to go through a treatment program. Serious cases involving injuries or death are given stiffer penalties. However, for the most part, the state of Tennessee tries to make sure that first offenders will not be convicted of another DUI offense. The more convictions on a person’s record, the harsher the punishments will be.

What Happens if a Driver Reaches Four DUI Offenses?

With each DUI conviction, a driver sees his or her license revoked for a certain amount of time: one year for first offenses, two years for second offenses, and six years for third offenses. Drivers are able to apply for a restricted license during the period of revocation.

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Campbell County criminal defense attorney

Parents who drink and drive can expect more severe punishments if they drive with their child in the car. Tennessee’s child endangerment law covers DUI offenses with a child in the car, because the child is put in danger when he or she is in a car with an impaired driver. The broad definition of child endangerment is any act -- or neglect of an act -- that causes a child to suffer physical, emotional, or psychological abuse. Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) reported that in 2017, DUI-related accidents were the cause of 220 child fatalities (of 1,147) nationally, and 118 of these were children inside the vehicles of drunk drivers.

Tennessee Drunk Driving Punishments

Adults who are charged with a DUI without a child present can expect jail time and fines, depending on how many previous charges they have received. The following are the penalties a Tennessee motorist can face with a DUI charge:

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Campbell County DUI school zone lawyer

Driving under the influence (DUI) is illegal in all 50 states. Tennessee passed a bill earlier this year to make the penalties for DUI offenses within a school zone more severe. Since most pedestrians in school zones are children, the need for safe driving is more important in order to keep the young ones protected from injury. The new law, which was introduced and passed in February, states that anyone driving under the influence in a school zone will be subject to double the punishment for an ordinary DUI offense outside of the school zone. For misdemeanor offenders, this means that both fines and prison terms will be doubled.

New Tennessee Law

The new Tennessee law for DUI offenses within school zones also covers:

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Campbell County ATV DUI defense lawyer

All-terrain vehicles (ATVs) are a popular form of off-road transportation for those looking to have fun in recreational areas, especially during warm weather conditions. These vehicles are barred from sharing the roadway with cars and trucks. However, they require a driver’s license just like automobiles in order to drive them legally. Also, if someone decides to drink alcohol before getting behind the wheel of an ATV, he or she can be charged with a DUI. If the impaired driver causes an accident, it can result in serious consequences, such as jail time and fines.

What Are the Tennessee DUI Punishments?

In Tennessee, ATVs are allowed to drive in specified parks, forest areas, hiking trails that permit ATVs, and recreational areas. These are all public zones, so drivers of ATVs are expected to be mindful of the safety of everyone on the trails, including pedestrians and bicyclists.

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Jacksboro, TN DUI liability attorney

In Tennessee, driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol is illegal. It is presumed a drunk driver is liable to pay compensation for any injury or death caused by driving while intoxicated since it is an act of reckless driving. However, there are some cases in which determining liability for causing a DUI-related car accident may not be so easy. Tennessee is one of 30 states that observe a Dram Shop Liability statute, which can place responsibility for DUI accidents on restaurants and/or bars depending on the circumstances.

What Is the Dram Shop Liability Statute?

Under Tennessee law, a licensed establishment that sells alcohol to a person who is may be held liable for damages in an alcohol-related car accident. They may be required to pay compensation for any personal injury or wrongful death caused in the accident as a result of the consumption of alcohol sold. Tennessee limits this “Dram Shop Liability” statute to cases in which restaurants or bars sell alcohol to a clearly intoxicated person or a minor under the legal drinking age.

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Jacksboro DUI lawyer

Even though the legal drinking age in the United States is 21 years old, minors all across the country often drink illegally. This can occur due to peer pressure or because the minors have easy access to alcohol or drugs within their home. There are many penalties and punishments when a minor is caught drinking illegally, but if they are caught driving under the influence, there will be even more consequences. They will face not only DUI charges, but they will also lose their driving privileges for a certain amount of time.

Tennessee Underaged DUI Penalties

The state of Tennessee has three statutes to enforce and attempt to eliminate underage drinking and driving. The most severe is the Driving While Impaired statute that affects minor drivers between the ages of 16 and 20. Any minor driver caught driving under the influence will have his or her license revoked for one year with no possibility of earning a restricted license. They will also face a $250 fine and service work per the discretion of the court.

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Campbell County DUI lawyer

According to the Tennessee Highway Patrol, the number of alcohol-related motor vehicle crashes has dropped in Campbell County since 2014, but so far this year, there have been nine, bringing the total to 336 since 2009.

Regardless of whether a driver has consumed alcohol, you can expect to be pulled over if a police officer sees you driving erratically down the road. When this happens, and you have been drinking, you could face the possibility of DUI charges.

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Posted on in DUI/DWI

Jacksboro TN DUI defense attorneyHere in the state of Tennessee, there have been dozens of initiatives designed to reduce the number of inebriated drivers on the roads. From heightened criminal punishment to increases in highway surveillance, law enforcement officials and prosecutors are taking drunk driving incredibly seriously throughout the state. According to the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security, over 7,300 people were arrested on DUI charges statewide throughout 2017. If you have been arrested on DUI charges, it is critically important to seek out legal assistance as soon as possible. 

Punishment for a DUI Conviction

Due to the high potential for fatal car accidents when a driver is inebriated, the state of Tennessee punishes drunk drivers more harshly than the vast majority of states. Even a first-time DUI offender will face a minimum of two full days in jail and fines of at least $350. Without quality legal representation, a first-time DUI offender could be subjected to a jail sentence of up to one year, one year of license revocation, and potential fines as high as $1,500. 

A second or third DUI conviction carries the same maximum prison sentence but comes with higher fines and much longer periods of driver’s license revocation. If you have been convicted of a fourth DUI, you will face felony charges and a minimum of one year in jail. More severe criminal punishment can be placed on those who are convicted of vehicular assault, vehicular homicide, or aggravated vehicular homicide. 

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