Is a DUI a felony in Tennessee?

Drunk driving

Regardless of the crime an individual commits, misdemeanors, and felonies have serious penalties. Depending on what state an individual is convicted in, a driving while under the influence (DUI) charge may be considered a misdemeanor or a felony. Typically, it depends on whether or not an individual has any previous or subsequent DUI offenses. If you have been charged with a DUI in Tennessee, contact a determined Memphis DUI Defense Lawyer who can fight on your behalf today. 

When is a DUI a felony in Tennessee?

Across the U.S. several states consider a first-offense DUI conviction as a misdemeanor. Tennessee is one of those states. In Tennessee, first, second, and third convictions are all considered misdemeanors. However, a fourth DUI conviction is a Class E felony. If an individual caused a drunk driving-related accident that caused serious injury to another person it is a Class D felony. A DUI will also be considered a Class D felony if an individual endangered a child, meaning they were driving while intoxicated with a passenger under the age of 18 in the motor vehicle. Drunk driving accidents are extremely horrific and often result in fatalities. If an individual causes vehicular homicide it is considered a Class B felony. If an individual is charged with aggravated vehicular assault, it is a Class A felony.

What are the potential penalties?

In Tennessee, there are several potential consequences for DUI convictions. The potential penalties include:

First offense

A first-offense DUI conviction is a misdemeanor. However, individuals will still face serious penalties for their actions. Individuals will face 48 hours to 11 months and 29 days in jail. However, this ultimately depends on the individual’s BAC. If the individual had a .20% BAC or more they will have to face a minimum of 7 days in jail. Individuals also face up to $1,500 in fines.

Second offense

A second-offense DUI conviction is also considered a misdemeanor. However, the consequences are more severe than a first-offense DUI conviction. Individuals will face 45 days to 11 months and 29 days in jail. Individuals will also face up to $3,500 in fines.

Third offense

Additionally, a third-offense DUI conviction is considered a misdemeanor. Third offenses result in 120 days to 11 months and 29 days in jail. Individuals will also face up to $10,000 in fines.

Fourth subsequent DUI offense

A fourth offense DUI is a class E felony. Individuals will face up to a year in jail and up to $15,000 in fines. A fourth subsequent DUI offense often results in the revocation of the individual’s license for up to 8 years.

Other penalties for DUI convictions

Depending on an individual’s previous convictions and BAC level, individuals may face other repercussions besides jail time and fines for a DUI conviction. Individuals may face license revocation, vehicle forfeiture, mandatory completion of a substance abuse educational program, and the installation of an ignition interlock device (IID). The court may decide other penalties are more appropriate punishments as well.

If you have been convicted of a felony DUI, reach out to one of our experienced team members who can help defend your rights and interests.