What is the penalty for a first time DUI?

A DUI is a class A misdemeanor


Misdemeanors are severe charges and can have a substantial impact on your life. A class A misdemeanor carries a maximum sentence of eleven months and twenty-nine days in jail.


Tennessee requires mandatory minimum jail time for all of those convicted of a DUI, including a first time DUI charge. The minimum sentence for a person convicted of a first time DUI is forty-eight hours in the county jail or workhouse. If the court determined that your blood-alcohol content was .20 or above, then there is a mandatory minimum of seven days in jail. However, after your first DUI charge, the minimum amount of jail time will continue to increase.


For a first DUI offense, the fine is no less than $350, and no more than $1,500. However, various other expenses may accompany a DUI charge, such as increased insurance costs, reinstatement fees to get your license back, and the cost of attending required classes.


The state will revoke your license for one year after being convicted of a first time DUI, and you will be required to attend an alcohol safety program and victim impact panel. The judge may order you to install an ignition interlock device into your car, which will be at your expense. An ignition interlock device requires that the driver of the car blow into the machine to start the vehicle, ensuring that the driver is not under the influence of any intoxicant.


If you are facing a DUI charge, it is necessary to contact an experienced DUI attorney who can discuss your options and help you navigate this difficult time. Philip N. Clark can help you with your case and find a strategy personalized for your situation and unique circumstances.

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