Posts Tagged DUI Penalties
Choosing the right Tennessee DUI lawyer is a critical decision that must be taken seriously. A Driving Under the Influence charge is often the first interaction many people have with the criminal justice system, which naturally leads to stress and uncertainty about the criminal process and possible repercussions. Many people often receive a flood of mail following a DUI arrest from attorneys, but it makes sense to carefully consider all options.
If you hire a lawyer and become dissatisfied with your choice, while your case is pending or even after a DUI conviction, it may be difficult to retain a different DUI attorney. For instance, because it is so important to begin investigating a DUI quickly, our office is often reluctant to to take a case after another lawyer has been retained and precious time to investigate has been lost. Therefore, the first decision should be made after considering the following:
- What is the focus of the attorney’s practice? Are they, and for how long have they been primarily devoted to DUI defense?
- Has the lawyer had any complaints filed against him or her?
- What books and articles has the attorney published?
- Did the DUI attorney graduate from an ABA accredited law school?
- Has the Tennessee Commission on CLE & Specialization and the National College for DUI Defense certified the attorney as a DUI Defense Specialist?
- What reviews has the attorney received from lawyer review agencies like Avvo?
- Has the lawyer achieved Martindale-Hubbell’s™ prestigious “AV” (very high to preeminent) rating?
- When and how often has the attorney lectured to his or her peers about DUI Defense?
We encourage prospective clients to devote the appropriate time, usually 2 hours, to properly investigate and speak with an attorney about their case. In our office, Steve, Sara, and Nate, are available every day of the year to discuss pending DUI charges. Please contact us at 865-249-7200 with any questions.
We are often asked how to obtain information from the Tennessee Department of Safety (TDOS) for driver license reinstatement (e.g. following a revocation for a Tennessee DUI conviction). While one could certainly call the TDOS at 1-866-903-7357, the easier course of action is to check the status of a Tennessee driver license by visiting the TDOS website. This is a wonderful resource for Tennessee residents whose driver license is revoked or suspended, however the following information is required to process a request: ; Last Name; and Date of Birth.
A related question is: how do I obtain a copy of a Tennessee Driver Record/Driving History/Motor Vehicle Record (also referred to as Tennessee MVR) online? Unfortunately, Tennessee does not currently provide an option to obtain this report online. A person must visit a full service Driver Service Center, a list of which can be viewed by clicking here. The following information on obtaining a copy of one’s driving record comes from the Tennessee Department of Safety website:
You will need the following when requesting your record:
- Date of Birth
- Driver License Number
If you want someone else to obtain a copy of your MVR for you, you must submit a notarized statement authorizing that person to obtain the record.
You may also obtain a copy of your driver record (also called a motor vehicle record or MVR) by mailing your request to:
Tennessee Department of Safety
PO BOX 945
Nashville, TN 37202
There is a $5.00 charge for a copy of a three-year driver record. A cashier’s check or money order should be made payable to the Tennessee Department of Safety. If mailing, allow two weeks from the mailing date to receive the driver record. The federal Driver Privacy Protection Act (DPPA) prohibits the release of personal identifying information from driver license and vehicle registration records unless an individual submits a form requesting their records be open.
The Oberman & Rice law firm often deal with issues surrounding Tennessee driver licenses, relating to Tennessee DUI offenses, as well as other traffic issues. Should you have any legal issues surrounding your Tennessee driver license, our attorneys, Steve, Sara, and Nate, are be available to speak with you and can be reached by calling 865-249-7200.
In accordance with a Tennessee state law that was passed in 2011, the Knox County government provided the Tennessee Department of Safety with a list of people who had failed to pay their litigation taxes and fines (often referred to as “court costs”) within one year after their criminal cases were resolved. As a result, nearly 1,300 motorists who faced a criminal offense in Knox County in 2012, including traffic offenses, received a letter earlier this month informing them that their driver licenses would be revoked for failing to timely pay their court costs. Unfortunately, as the Knox News Sentinel reported on January 25, 2013, officials recently discovered that many people should not have been included on the list submitted to the Department of Safety. According to the Knox News Sentinel, over 500 people never owed court costs or had timely completed their obligations to the court. Even though the Department of Safety has been notified of the error, the consequences of this mishap remain unclear. For more information about this developing story, read Clerical Error May Cause Wrongful Revocation of Driver’s License by our firm’s managing partner Steve Oberman.
It is important to note that Driving on a Revoked License is a criminal offense, and an officer may immediately arrest anyone found driving with a revoked license. Moreover, a person who drives while his or her license is revoked as the result of a DUI conviction will be made to serve at least 48 hours in jail if convicted of Driving on a Revoked License. Please contact Steve, Sara, or Nate for further assistance if you have a question about your driver’s license. You may reach our attorneys by calling (865) 249-7200.
Many people are unaware of the many collateral consequences of a DUI conviction. One generally understood consequence of a conviction for Driving Under the Influence, First Offense, in Tennessee is the loss of a driver license for one year. Even though a restricted driver license may be obtained for many people convicted of a DUI, First Offense, a restricted driver license will typically not suffice to rent a motor vehicle. Most, if not all, national rental agencies require a renter to provide a valid driver license. Therefore, the possibility of renting a car will not be an option for at least a year after a conviction for Driving Under the Influence in Tennessee.
Even after the Tennessee driver license reinstatement of someone convicted of DUI, the ability to rent a car may be limited due to insurance concerns. Individual rental companies may respond differently to a prior DUI conviction. Therefore, the best course of action would be to contact a sales representative before a rental car is reserved online and relied upon for transportation. Higher rates, travel restrictions, and special insurance may be required to rent a vehicle, so it makes sense to shop around and compare policies and rates.
Please click here for additional information about the collateral consequences (other consequences) of a DUI conviction. An experienced Tennessee Defense Lawyer should be consulted about all of the possible consequences of a Driving Under the Influence conviction. Steve, Sara, and Nate are available to answer questions about the consequences of a Tennessee DUI and may be reached by calling 865-249-7200.
Law enforcement officers investigating a potential crime make important decisions about who to arrest. At the scene of a suspected DUI an officer may decide to arrest and charge both the driver and passenger of a vehicle with the offense of Driving Under the Influence. Depending on the circumstances, an officer may choose to only arrest the driver of the vehicle if the officer suspects DUI.
The state prosecutor, however, is not required to follow the officer’s decisions. After an arrest is made, a prosecutor may learn of additional facts, like the ownership of the vehicle involved in the crime. In response to this knowledge, a prosecutor may issue additional arrest warrants for uncharged defendants or increase the severity of the charges.
In most DUI cases, the prosecutor has one year from the date of the offense to bring charges – the statute of limitations for Tennessee misdemeanor offenses. For more serious DUI-related offenses involving multiple offenses, bodily injury, or death, the prosecutor may take up to 15 years to bring charges.
The criminal defense attorneys at Oberman & Rice are able to provide advice and counsel both before and after arrest. Should you have any questions about a Tennessee DUI issue, you may contact Steve, Sara, or Nate by calling (865) 249-7200. Our Tennessee DUI website, provides additional information about the crime of DUI and its associated penalties.
[Source: Tenn. Code Ann. § 40-2-101 & § 40-2-102]
Posted by Nate Evans in Court Procedures, DUI Fourth Offense, DUI Penalties, DUI Second Offense, DUI Third Offense, Forfeiture, Hiring a Tennessee DUI Attorney, Tennessee DUI Consequences, Tennessee DUI Information, Tennessee DUI Laws, Tennessee DUI Penalties, Tennessee Traffic Violations on October 13th, 2012
The Tennessee Department of Safety, through law enforcement officers, may seize the vehicle of anyone suspected of multiple DUIs. A vehicle may also be seized from anyone found to be driving on a revoked, cancelled, or suspended license if the reason for the revoked, cancelled, or suspended license was a DUI conviction. In other words, a person convicted of a DUI risks vehicle seizure if he or she is found to be driving without a valid license or is suspected of DUI, regardless of whether there is a conviction.
When a citizen’s property is seized, the government, which is typically be represented by the Tennessee Department of Safety in cases involving vehicle and asset forfeiture, must follow the rules. Multiple state laws, court cases, and administrative rules govern the forfeiture process. Furthermore, constitutional protections against unreasonable searches and seizures and against excessive fines may apply to forfeiture proceedings just as they do criminal proceedings.
The Department of Safety rules and regulations are complicated and often intimidating. Nevertheless, failure to take action within strict time limits may result in the loss of property rights. If you or someone you know has had property seized by law enforcement, it is important to contact a Tennessee criminal attorney immediately. You may contact Steve, Sara, or Nate by calling (865) 249-7200. You may also wish to review our website for additional information about forfeitures.
[Source: T.C.A. Section 55-10-401 et seq., Williams v. State Dept. of Safety, 854 S.W.2d 102 (Tenn. Ct. App. 1993), Stuart v. State Dept. of Safety, 963 S.W.2d 28 (Tenn. 1998)]
A First Offense DUI in Tennessee is always a Misdemeanor (sentence of less than 1 year in jail) if no accidents, injuries, or deaths result from the offense. However, all DUI convictions require defendants to serve at least 48 hours in jail, which is a harsher punishment than a defendant would receive for most other Misdemeanors.
Even though Second and Third Offense DUIs are charged as misdemeanors, the mandatory minimum sentences are 45 and 120 days respectively for Second and Third Offenses. A Fourth or subsequent DUI Offense is a Felony Offense (sentence of 1 year or more in jail) and, upon conviction, requires that a defendant serve 150 days in jail. These mandatory jail sentences are significantly harsher than mandatory minimum sentences for nearly every other Misdemeanor Offense.
Jail time is one of many penalties that are unique to DUI. Please visit TNDUI.COM for more details about the penalties for DUI offenses in Tennessee. A Tennessee DUI attorney can help you avoid the harshest punishment. Please contact Knoxville DUI attorneys Steve, Sara, and Nate at (865) 249-7200 if you have any DUI-related questions.
[Source: T.C.A. 55-10-403]
At least two Tennessee laws have made it more difficult to defend persons accused of driving under the influence and, in another change, the DUI penalty when accompanied by someone under the age of 18 has increased.
The 2012 Tennessee Legislature amended Tennessee Code Annotated § 55-10-406, also known as the Implied Consent Law. This law applies when an officer requests the suspect to submit to chemical testing (blood, breath, or urine). The amendment clarified that an individual may be compelled to submit to a chemical testing if the testing is mandated by:
- A Court Order;
- A search warrant; or
- When a law enforcement officer has probable cause to believe that a driver of a motor vehicle involved in an accident resulting in the injury or death of another is guilty of vehicular homicide, aggravated vehicular homicide, or DUI.
The Legislature also amended Tennessee Code Annotated § 55-10-402 to clarify that no defense to DUI exists when a person is under the influence of an intoxicant even if they are entitled to lawfully use the substance/intoxicant.
Moreover, the penalty for a person convicted of DUI who was accompanied by a person under the age of 18 was enhanced. It now requires a mandatory minimum period of 30 days in jail and a mandatory minimum fine of $1,000.00. This law, which amended Tennessee Code Annotated § 55-10-403, states that the incarceration enhancement must be served in addition to, and at the conclusion of, any jail time and fine otherwise imposed for the underlying DUI offense. Likewise, the fine enhancement must be in addition to any fine imposed by law as a result of the Tennessee DUI conviction.
Laws such as these emphasize the importance of hiring a Tennessee lawyer who is educated about the newest laws and prepared to aggressively defend you. Too many people are wrongfully accused of driving under the influence and related charges. If you would like further information about these laws, or your case, you may contact the Oberman and Rice Law Firm at (865) 249-7200.
Posted by Sara Compher-Rice in Court Procedures, DUI First Offense Penalties, DUI Fourth Offense, DUI Penalties, DUI Second Offense, DUI Third Offense, Frequently Asked Questions, Hiring a Tennessee DUI Attorney, Legal Rights, Tennessee DUI Consequences, Tennessee DUI Information, Tennessee DUI Laws, Tennessee DUI Penalties on March 6th, 2012
The number of prior DUI convictions in a defendant’s past significantly affects the amount of jail time a defendant may expect to serve if he or she is convicted of a Tennessee DUI. It is important to note that the prior convictions need not be from Tennessee. Even out of state DUI convictions can be used against a person accused of committing a Tennessee DUI offense.
Tennessee DUI law requires minimum amounts of jail time to be served for all DUI convictions. If a defendant is convicted of a DUI, the judge MUST sentence that defendant to the minimum amount of time established by Tennessee DUI law, ranging from 48 hours in jail up to 150 days in jail, depending upon the offense. On the other hand, the judge may sentence a defendant to more than the mandatory minimum amount of time – this is more likely to occur with multiple convictions. Please visit our website for a full list of penalties for DUI convictions.
TN DUI lawyers know that any time in jail causes a major disruption in a person’s life, which is why anyone charged with DUI in Tennessee should consult with a Tennessee DUI attorney as soon as possible. If you have questions about your Tennessee DUI charge and associated penalties, our lawyers are available to assist you. Sara, Steve, or Nate will be happy to speak with you at (865) 249-7200.
If my prior DUI conviction was in another state, can it be used in Tennessee to charge me with a second offense DUI?
Any DUI conviction from another state may be used against you if arrested for a Tennessee DUI offense. If the time criteria is met, a prior, out-of-state DUI may be used to enhance your Tennessee DUI conviction to a DUI second offense or greater, depending upon the facts of your prior conviction(s). Tennessee does honor DUI convictions from all other jurisdictions in the country.
It is important to note that the arresting officer may not know about the out-of-state conviction(s) at the time of the Tennessee DUI arrest. The officer’s initial arrest warrant, and any paperwork a person receives following a DUI arrest, may state that the charge is DUI, first offense. However, the state prosecutor may amend the initial Tennessee DUI charge to multiple offense DUI when more information becomes available.
Tennessee DUI law allows for a person to challenge an out-of-state conviction, and a skilled DUI attorney may prevent it from being used against you in your Tennessee DUI case. Be sure to consult with a Tennessee Defense Attorney to determine if a conviction in another state could be used against you. A successful challenge to an out-of-state conviction could make a significant difference in a defendant’s case and punishment.
[Source: Tenn. Code Ann. § 55-10-403]