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Tennessee DUI Laws


In an average year, approximately one-third of Tennessee traffic fatalities involve a driver who is legally intoxicated. Not only is drinking and driving dangerous, but it is also an action that can carry a multitude of consequenses. It is worth noting that you may feel fine after a few drinks, but still be legally intoxicated. So before you get behind the wheel after even a couple of drinks, consider the DUI laws in Tennessee:

Tennessee Code, Section 55-10-401 states:
"Driving under the influence of intoxicant, drug or drug producing stimulant prohibited — Alcohol concentration in blood or breath. —

(a) It is unlawful for any person to drive or to be in physical control of any automobile or other motor driven vehicle on any of the public roads and highways of the state, or on any streets or alleys, or while on the premises of any shopping center, trailer park or any apartment house complex, or any other premises which is generally frequented by the public at large, while:
(1) Under the influence of any intoxicant, marijuana, narcotic drug, or drug producing stimulating effects on the central nervous system; or
(2) The alcohol concentration in such person's blood or breath is eight-hundredths of one percent (.08 %) or more.

(b) For the purpose of this section, “drug producing stimulating effects on the central nervous system” includes the salts of barbituric acid, also known as malonyl urea, or any compound, derivatives, or mixtures thereof that may be used for producing hypnotic or somnifacient effects, and includes amphetamine, desoxyephedrine or compounds or mixtures thereof, including all derivatives of phenolethylamine or any of the salts thereof, except preparations intended for use in the nose and unfit for internal use."

Below is a table outlining fines, jail time, and other penalties given for DUIs. As you can see, drinking and driving is reckless, dangerous, and costly endeavor. If you've been drinking -- even a little -- please call a friend, catch a cab, or sober up before getting behind the wheel.

Penalties for Drinking and Driving in Tennessee

Jail Time Fines Length of License Revocation Vehicle Seizure and Forfeiture
First Conviction 48 hours minimum $350-$1,500 1 year N/A
Second Conviction 45 days -- 11 months and 29 days $600-$3,500 2 years Vehicle may be seized permanently
Third Conviction 120 days -- 11 months and 29 days $1,100-$10,000 3-10 years Vehicle may be seized permanently
Fourth or Subsequent Conviction 150 days $3,000-$15,000 5 years minimum Vehicle may be seized permanently
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