A 2015 report published by the Insurance Journal states there was an increase in Tennessee residents being charged with driving under the influence (DUI) in 2014 up from 2013. The report states that more than 29,500 residents were charged with DUI in 2014. Law enforcement attributes this increase to improved intelligence data.
DUI conviction statistics reveal 8% of DUI arrests will go to trial, 88% will result in successful prosecutions.
The Tennessee Code Annotated (TCA) defines DUI according to Section 55-10-401 subsection (a)(1) (being) under the influence of any intoxicant, marijuana, controlled substance or its analogue, or any substance which affects the central nervous system in any combination that impairs the driver’s ability to safely operate a motor vehicle by depriving the driver of the clearness of mind and self control which he otherwise possesses; (2) The driver’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is 0.08 percent or more; or (3) With a BAC of 0.04 percent and the vehicle is a commercial motor vehicle.
The penalties for a DUI conviction in Tennessee can be steep. A DUI conviction can result at a minimum driver’s license suspension, up to 3 years mandatory alcohol treatment program, a court fine between $600 and $10,000 and community service. The court also has the discretion to order a vehicle confiscation and/or require the driver to install an ignition interlock device following the 2nd conviction.
Aggravated felony penalties exist in circumstances where the DUI conviction is the 4th, the BAC is higher than 0.20 percent, there was property damage, personal injury or death resulted while the driver was under the influence. The additional penalties can include a prison sentence of 2 – 12 years or longer and a 3 – 10 year driver’s license suspension.
Additionally, the TCA mandates a zero tolerance policy for anyone under the age of 21 driving with a BAC of 0.02 percent or higher. An underage conviction may result in a 1 year license revocation a $250 fine and community service.