It doesn’t pay to drink and drive. The reality is that it can be quite costly.

Tennessee law provides that it is unlawful for any person to drive or to be in physical control of any automobile or other motor driven vehicle while: (1) under the influence of any intoxicant, (2) marijuana, (3) narcotic drug, or (4) any drug producing stimulating effects on the central nervous system. For conviction of a first offense DUI, the blood alcohol concentration (BAC) in a person’s blood or breath is .08 % or more. We will discuss drugs in the system on a different post.

If you are convicted of a first offense DUI will be fined between a minimum of three hundred and fifty dollars ($350.00) and a maximum of fifteen hundred dollars ($1,500.00). You will be required to serve a mandatory minimum of forty-eight (48) hours in jail but may have to serve up to 11 months and 29 days depending on the severity of circumstances. You will lose your driving privileges in this state for a period of one (1) year. You may be eligible for a restricted license but that may require the installation of an ignition interlock device. You must blow into the device each time you start your vehicle and the device measures any alcohol in your system. There is an installation fee for the ignition interlock, along with a monthly fee for maintenance and monitoring.

In addition to the penalties set out for a first offense violation, if at the time of the offense, your BAC is .20% or more, the minimum period of confinement is seven (7) consecutive calendar days. This deprivation of individual liberty is devastating to most people, particularly those not accustomed to the criminal justice system.

Jail time and fines are not the only consequences for a first-time DUI offender. The judge also may order a person to participate in an alcohol and drug treatment program. This type of treatment plan could be extremely time-consuming and costly.

In fact, one of the more surprising aspects of the criminal justice system are the costs associated with a criminal conviction. Consider that a DUI conviction can accumulate costs related to towing, bail, hiring an attorney, court costs, mandatory fines, ignition interlock, alcohol safety school, treatment programs, and drivers license reinstatement fees. Thus, a first DUI offense could easily range between five thousand ($5,000) and ten thousand ($10,000) dollars.

Due to the severe financial and personal burdens associated with a DUI conviction, a person must take great care in selecting an appropriate attorney who will explore all options and vigorously defend their rights. Nashville-based attorney Philip N. Clark is an experienced criminal defense attorney who has actual hands on experience with police procedure and tactics. He served more than 20 years in law enforcement and knows the tricks of the trade. As a skilled negotiator and communicator, Philip N. Clark’s legal practice focuses solely on criminal law.

If arrested for a DUI, contact PNC Law at

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