The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation released its report with the latest findings for 2014. The data shows that 29,544 people were arrested for DUI last year, an increase of 639 people from 2013. According to the Chattanooga Police Department and the Tennessee Highway Patrol, “the bump is due to new techniques that include using analytic software to predict when and where drunken drivers might crash and focusing more efforts around bars” in order to increase the number of DUI arrests around the state. The THP also ran a number of “No Refusal” campaigns last year during holiday weekends, which allowed police in eight different counties to seek search warrants for blood tests when they suspected that a driver was impaired while on the road.
The ramp up in enforcement is one part of a larger program, instituted in April of 2014, called the “Drive to Zero.” Started by THP Col. Tracy Trott, “Drive to Zero” is intended to lower the number of fatalities on Tennessee roads to zero – a realistically unreachable goal, as Trott acknowledges, but one that law enforcement are taking seriously. Trott said that law enforcement officials “need to take as much enforcement action as possible in key areas – seat belt, DUI and speed enforcement” to help save lives. That action could be another reason why Tennessee had so many DUI arrests last year.
Fines and penalties for DUIs in Tennessee
If an officer arrests you for a DUI, you face steep consequences if convicted. You are within your legal right to refuse a breath test, though the cops will likely obtain a search warrant for a blood test if you are stopped during a “No Refusal” weekend. However, refusing the breath test – known as implied consent – will still likely cost you your driver’s license for a period of one year.
If convicted of a DUI 1st offense in Tennessee, the following penalties could apply:
- A minimum jail sentence of 48 hours to 11 months and 29 days
- $350 fine
- $between $500 to $1,000 in court costs
- Attendance of an alcohol safety school
- Attendance of one MADD victim impact panel
- Completion of an alcohol and drug assessment and follow up of recommendations
- Loss of license for one year
- Availability to receive a restricted license with the installation of an interlock device
This is why it is crucial that you retain the services of an experienced middle Tennessee DUI attorney if you are arrested for driving under the influence. A conviction can cost you thousands of dollars by the time it is all over.
Help when you need it most
At Lowery, Lowery & Cherry, PLLC we aggressively defend the rights of people charged with a DUI in Tennessee. If you are facing the loss of your license, contact Lebanon DUI lawyer Jeff Cherry to discuss your case.