In Nashville, driving under the influence (DUI) means operating a vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08% or higher. At this DUI limit and beyond, you are considered intoxicated under Tennessee law.
If you’re pulled over in Nashville and a breathalyzer shows your BAC is over the legal limit of .08%, you’ll likely face DUI charges. Tennessee considers a BAC of .08% or above to be intoxicated for drivers 21 and over.
For those under 21, any amount of alcohol in their system can lead to a DUI. DUI also applies if you’re under the influence of legal prescription drugs or illegal drugs that impair your driving. Even if you test below the DUI limit of .08%, you could be charged with DUI in Nashville if police observe that you’re too impaired to drive.
If you are accused of drunk driving, don’t wait to contact an experienced Nashville DUI lawyer at Byron Pugh Legal.
Understanding the DUI Limit in Nashville
In Tennessee, driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol or drugs is illegal and can have serious legal consequences. As in most states, Tennessee’s DUI laws set a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit of 0.08% for drivers over 21.
This means that if a breathalyzer or blood test shows your BAC is 0.08% or higher while operating a vehicle, you can be charged with DUI. For commercial drivers, the DUI limit is even lower at 0.04% BAC.
Regardless of your BAC, if police observe that you are impaired to the point of not being able to drive safely, you can still be charged with DUI. The amount of alcohol needed to reach these limits depends on factors like your body weight, gender, and the period in which drinks were consumed.
Penalties for DUI Convictions in Tennessee
If you’re convicted of a DUI in Nashville, Tennessee, you’ll face some stiff penalties. Unlike most crimes, DUIs carry mandatory minimum punishments, meaning you must serve at least that much time in jail if convicted.
- First DUI Offense: For a first offense DUI, you’ll face up to $1,500 in fines and up to 11 months and 29 days in jail, with a minimum of 48 hours behind bars. The judge will also likely suspend your driver’s license for a year.
- Second DUI Offense: A second DUI conviction brings harsher consequences, including up to $3,500 in fines and up to 11 months and 29 days in jail, with a minimum of 45 days required. Your license will be suspended for two years.
- Third DUI Offense: The penalties become quite severe with your third DUI. You’ll face up to $10,000 in fines, up to 11 months, and 29 days in jail, with a minimum 120-day sentence. Your license will be suspended for up to 10 years.
- Fourth or Subsequent DUI Offense: For four or more DUIs, you’re looking at up to $15,000 in fines and up to a year in jail, with a minimum 150-day sentence. Your license may be permanently revoked.
These penalties are no joke. After a few offenses, a DUI conviction in Nashville can destroy your life by depleting your finances, depriving you of your freedom, and taking away your ability to drive legally. The moral of the story? Don’t drink and drive.
Tips for Avoiding a DUI in Nashville
The only way to completely avoid DUI charges is not to drink any alcohol if you plan to drive. However, if you do choose to drink, follow these tips:
- Assign a designated driver who will not drink.
- Call a taxi, rideshare, or sober friend for a ride instead of driving yourself.
- Spend the night at the location where you were drinking.
- Pace yourself by having one alcoholic drink per hour and drinking a glass of water in between.
- Eat food that helps slow alcohol absorption.
- Check your BAC with a breathalyzer before driving to ensure you’re under the legal limit.
Driving under the influence puts lives in danger and should be avoided. Know the DUI laws, understand how alcohol affects you personally, and make plans to get home safely after drinking.
Don’t Wait to Call a Nashville DUI Lawyer!
If you’ve been charged with a DUI in Nashville, hiring an experienced DUI defense lawyer is one of the most important steps you can take. A DUI conviction can have serious consequences, including potential jail time, license suspension, and hefty fines.
A Nashville criminal defense attorney focusing on DUI defense will understand Tennessee’s complex DUI laws and penalties. They can evaluate the details of your case, determine the best defense strategies, and fight to get your charges reduced or dismissed.