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DUI convictions mean mandatory jail time in Tennessee

As someone who enjoys having the occasional night out with friends to enjoy an alcoholic beverage, you likely understand that such activities come with certain risks. For instance, even if you do not feel impaired, if you get behind the wheel of a vehicle and an officer considers you intoxicated, you could face a serious predicament. Handling such an issue may seem daunting.

As in all states, Tennessee has a per se blood-alcohol content level of .08 percent. This fact means that even if you feel and act fine, a police officer may still charge you with driving while intoxicated if a breath or blood test reveals that your BAC level has reached or exceeded this level. When such a situation occurs, you may fear the potential consequences.

Jail time - First offense

Going to jail understandably comes in as a top fear of many individuals facing DUI charges. Of course, in order for this to happen, the court must convict you of the charges brought against you. However, if a conviction does take place, the state has mandatory jail time as a sentence, even for a first offense. Therefore, you could potentially go to jail for a minimum of 48 hours if the court finds you guilty.

That mandatory period increases if your BAC level reached or exceeded .20 percent, as the state has enhanced penalties for this level of intoxication. In such a case, you would face a mandatory jail stay of at least seven days.

When it comes to maximum jail time for first offenses, you could face nearly a year in jail -- 11 months and 29 days, specifically.

Jail time - Additional offenses

If you have already received one DUI conviction and now face a second charge, your penalties could increase if another conviction takes place. Mandatory jail time for this offense increases to 45 days, but the maximum sentence remains the same. When it comes to a third conviction, you will have to contend with at least 120 days in jail. Additional allegations become felony charges, which will lead to at least one year in jail for a conviction.

Other sentencing

Though the thought of going to jail may remain present in your mind, you may also want to keep in mind that additional penalties such as considerable fines, license revocation and mandatory treatment program attendance could also occur. Because you certainly want to avoid such outcomes, creating a meaningful defense against DUI charges may be a route you wish to consider.

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