Drunk driving is a serious criminal offense. State law enforcement officers strictly enforce intoxicated driving laws. The Tennessee Highway Patrol (THP) reports that they arrested 6,984 people on DUI charges in 2018 alone. Many thousands more drivers in Tennessee were arrested on drunk driving charges by local police officers.
There are significant costs associated with DUI offenses. It could cost you your driver’s license, your freedom, and a significant amount of money. You may be wondering what you can expect to pay after a DUI arrest. At The Barnes Law Firm, we want to make sure you are fully informed. In this blog post, our Knoxville DUI defense lawyer discusses the total cost of a DUI arrest in Tennessee.
Tennessee Law: DUI Fines Depend On Your Prior Record Of Offenses (or Lack Thereof)
Under Tennessee state law, a driver convicted of a DUI will face significant criminal penalties, including direct monetary sanctions. Notably, the specific penalties that person will face depends on several different factors, the most important being their history of previous intoxicated driving offenses, or lack thereof. Here is an overview of the fines for DUI in Tennessee:
- First Offense DUI: Fine of $350 to $1,500.
- Second Offense DUI: Fine of $600 to $3,500.
- Third Offense DUI: Fine of $1,100 to $10,000.
- Fourth Offense DUI: Fine of $3,000 to $15,000.
Of course, a fine is not the only criminal sanction associated with a DUI charge in Tennessee. A defendant will also face the suspension of their license and potential jail time. Under state law, even a first-time DUI offense can carry a maximum criminal penalty of up to 11 months and 29 days in jail. Though, to be clear, most first-time offenders do not face the maximum allowable penalties.
There Are Additional Costs Related To A DUI In Tennessee Costs Beyond State-Mandated Fines
If you want to know how much you can expect a DUI arrest to cost in Tennessee, it would be a major mistake to only consider direct fines imposed after a conviction. A driver can face a wide range of other indirect financial consequences after being arrested and charged with a drunk driving offense. Beyond the fines authorized by Tennessee state law, some of the other potential costs associated with a DUI conviction include:
- Car towing fees;
- Car storage fees;
- Repayment of court costs;
- Repayment of the cost of installing an interlock ignition device;
- The costs associated with alcohol-based education classes;
- The costs to apply for the reinstatement of your driver’s license; and
- Increased auto insurance premiums.
Additionally, your job and/or future career prospects may be put at risk due to a DUI conviction. A criminal record can by itself make it more difficult to land a position. For those who have to drive as part of keeping their employment, the suspension of a driver’s license could result in termination. This is another potential cost that must be considered as you prepare to defend a drunk driving case in Tennessee.
A DUI Defense Lawyer Can Help Protect Your From The Costs—Financially and Otherwise
A drunk driving charge is a very serious matter. If you were arrested on suspicion of a DUI in Tennessee, it is imperative that you take immediate action to protect your rights, your interests, and your freedom. Law enforcement officers and Tennessee prosecutors will not look out for your best interests. A conviction could carry stiff penalties—including a fine and other costs.
Professional representation is available. An attorney can help protect against the worst consequences. Among other things. A Tennessee DUI defense lawyer will be able to review the circumstances of your arrest and help you determine the right course of action. The sooner you get a DUI defense lawyer by your side, the better position you will be in to protect your best interests.
Call Our Knoxville, TN DUI Defense Attorney For Immediate Help With Your Case
At The Barnes Law Firm, our Tennessee DUI defense lawyer has the professional expertise that you can rely on to get you through difficult times. If you or your loved one was arrested for intoxicated driving, we will protect your rights. Call us now or connect with us through our website to schedule a strictly confidential review of your case. With a legal office in Knoxville, we provide DUI defense services throughout the entire region, including in Knox County, Anderson County, Blount County, Roane County, and Sevier County, Union County, Monroe County, and Jefferson County.