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Drunk Driving Accidents

It is no secret that alcohol affects an individual’s ability to drive safely. In fact, drunk drivers are responsible for close to 28 percent of traffic deaths in Tennessee, according to Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD).

Drunk driving accidents can lead to serious injuries and even death for the drunk driver, his or her passengers, and any other parties involved in the collision like other drivers, their passengers, and pedestrians. In nearly every case where one of the involved parties is proven to have been intoxicated at the time of the accident, he or she is determined to be the negligent driver and thus responsible for all victims’ injuries. Drunk drivers may also face charges of driving under the influence (DUI).

DUI Charges

If a driver is found to be operating a vehicle while his or her blood alcohol content(BAC) is .08% or higher, he or she faces a DUI charge. The penalties an individual receives for a DUI conviction depend on his or her BAC at the time of the arrest and the number of DUI convictions he or she has received previously.

For an individual’s first DUI conviction, he or she faces the following penalties:

  • Driver’s license revocation for one year;
  • Participation in a drug and alcohol education course;
  • Jail time;
  • Restitution to any victims;
  • Installation of an ignition interlock device at the judge’s discretion; and
  • Substantial fines.

If an individual is convicted of DUI twice in a five year period, an ignition interlock device must be installed in his or her vehicle for at least six months.

Other penalties for a second DUI conviction include the following:

  • Driver’s license revoked for two years;
  • A jail sentence ranging from 45 days to 11 months and 29 days;
  • Mandatory fine of up to $3,500;
  • Restitution to victims;
  • Drug and alcohol education program; and
  • Seizure of the individual’s vehicle.

The penalties for third and subsequent DUI convictions are even steeper, with an individual’s fourth or later conviction charged as a Class E felony. For example, the fines an individual must pay for his or her third DUI can be as high as $10,000 and reach $15,000 for his or her fourth offense. Jail sentences for DUI convictions beyond one’s second can be as long as 11 months, 29 days for one’s third and up to one full year for his or her fourth or subsequent. Once an individual is convicted of his or her third DUI, he or she is no longer eligible for a restricted driver’s license while his or her license is revoked. This means that he or she is not allowed to drive under any circumstances.

If you have been personally injured by a drunk driver, you may be able to use his or her criminal convictions as evidence in your civil case. Doing so however is simplified with the assistance of a skilled attorney who can help you navigate the complex legal process.

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