DUI Laws in Tennessee

Laws and penalties for DUI in Tennessee.

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In Tennessee, you can get a DUI if you drive with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or higher, regardless of whether your driving ability was actually impaired. And the law in Tennessee says that if you are driving a vehicle, you have given consent to submit to a chemical test for the purpose of determining the amount of alcohol in your blood. Here are some details on the consequences of refusing to take a chemical test in Tennessee and other details about Tennessee DUI law.

In Tennessee, what are the consequences of refusing to take a chemical test (usually a breathalyzer or blood test) when suspected of DUI?

Here are the consequences for not taking a breathalyzer or blood test in Tennessee, broken out by whether this is your first, second, or third offense:

1st offense

2nd offense

3rd offense

1 year license revocation

2 year license revocation

2 year license revocation

In Tennessee, when do police have to measure your blood alcohol content (BAC)?

In Tennessee, law enforcement officers are supposed to measure your BAC at the time of driving. However, prosecutors may be able to prove your culpability for DUI even if your BAC is taken later than this time.

What is the maximum BAC for drivers under 21 in Tennessee?

In Tennessee, the maximum blood alcohol content (BAC) for drivers who are under 21 (considered minors under some drinking and driving laws) is .02%.

What are the minimum jail times for a DUI in Tennessee?

Here are the minimum jail times for a DUI in Tennessee, broken out by whether this is your first, second, or third offense:

1st offense

2nd offense

3rd offense

No minimum jail term (unless BAC is .20 or higher, in which case 7 days jail)

45 days jail

120 days jail

How long will prior DUI convictions remain relevant for sentencing purposes in Tennessee?

In Tennessee, prior DUI convictions stay on your record (and can be counted against you when you are being sentenced for another DUI/DWI offense) for 10 years.

Can a DUI be “pleaded down” to a "wet reckless" in Tennessee?

A defendant might receive a "wet reckless," or a conviction of reckless driving involving alcohol, as a result of a plea bargain in which a charge of drunk driving is reduced to a case of reckless driving. There is no statutory provision on whether a wet reckless plea bargain will be accepted in your state, but it's possible a lawyer may be able to create a plea bargain for you.

If you are interested in contacting a lawyer, you can find a DUI lawyer in your area in Nolo's Lawyer Directory.

Are ignition interlock devices (IIDs) required for convicted DUI offenders in Tennessee?

They are not required, but a court has the discretion to order their use. They will not be required if the device would be a financial hardship (the defendant has to pay for the device and its maintenance).

Where can I get more information about DUI laws in Tennessee?

Nolo's DUI/DWI topic has many helpful articles, including a Drunk Driving, DUI, and DWI FAQ. For more help after a DUI arrest, see Nolo's Lawyer Directory, where you can view in-depth profiles of Tennessee DUI attorneys in your area.

Last updated on 09/01/2010.

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