Tennessee law imposes harsher penalties if you are driving under the influence (DUI) with a minor in the vehicle. The fines and punishments are greater than a DUI when you are the only person in the vehicle. If you have been charged with a DUI with a minor in the vehicle, you desperately need to seek the services of an experienced criminal defense attorney such as Philip Clark. He can provide the zealous advocacy and thorough representation needed to give you your best opportunity in this difficult situation.
You Will Face Enhanced Charges and Penalties if Convicted
Tennessee law provides that if a person is driving under the influence and a minor is present in the vehicle then “the person’s sentence shall be enhanced by a mandatory minimum period of thirty (30) days.” Tenn. Code Ann. §55-10-402(b). The law provides that such a period of incarceration “shall be served in addition” to any period of time for violating the basic DUI statute. Tenn. Code Ann. §55-10-402(b). These penalties include a mandatory minimum fine of $1,000 and a mandatory minimum jail sentence of 30 days. Other consequences may include license revocation and mandatory installation of an ignition interlock device on your vehicle. It is not unusual for the prosecuting attorney to argue for a sentence greater than the mandatory minimum for a DUI with a minor in the vehicle.
Prosecutors also may attempt to add on other charges, including child endangerment, vehicular assault, or even more severe charges, such as vehicular homicide if the minor dies. Child endangerment can be a felony offense in Tennessee. Vehicular assault is a crime in which the defendant “recklessly causes serious bodily injury to another person by the operation of a motor vehicle.” Tenn. Code Ann. §39-13-106(a). Vehicular assault is a Class D felony in Tennessee. Tenn. Code Ann. §39-13-106(a).
Vehicular homicide is “the reckless killing of another by the operation of an automobile . . . [a]s the proximate result of the driver’s intoxication as set forth in the basic DUI statute. Tenn. Code Ann. §39-13-213(a)(2). Vehicular homicide is a Tennessee Class B felony, punishable by a minimum prison sentence of 8 to 30 years and fine of up to $25,000. In some cases, the offense may be elevated to a Class A felony for aggravated vehicular homicide, such as when the defendant has two prior DUI convictions.
If you facing DUI charges and a minor was in the vehicle, you are going to be charged more severely than other DUI defendants. The charges will be extensive if the minor was injured or killed in the motor vehicle accident. Thus, if you face DUI with a minor, child endangerment, vehicular assault, or vehicular homicide charges, you need to enlist the services of an experienced criminal defense attorney. Nashville-based attorney Philip Clark fits the bill perfectly. Not only is he a gifted criminal defense attorney but also he has nearly 20 years of experience in law enforcement. He knows how to speak to prosecutors and police officers alike. If you face DUI charges with a minor and other more enhanced charges, contact Philip Clark at (615) 678-1033 or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.