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Getting a DUI in Tennessee Could Lead to Severe Consequences

Serious defense for those accused of driving under the influence

There are few crimes treated with more gravity – or more disdain – than a DUI conviction. But for many people, driving under the influence is the result of a poor decision, not a conscious desire to break the law. When you’re facing DUI charges, you want an attorney who understands that making a mistake doesn’t make you a bad person.

I am Kevin Shepherd, founder of Shepherd and Associates, P.C. For the last 26 years, I’ve protected the people of Maryville and throughout East Tennessee when faced with charges of driving under the influence. We understand how a DUI conviction can affect all parts of your life for far longer than you might expect, and how frightening it can be to face those charges. We strive to create a stress-free environment for you to discuss your side of the story, and create strategies designed to protect you in the face of a DUI conviction.

Understanding the consequences of a DUI

The type of DUI you face is dependent upon what and whom you were driving. The average Maryville driver faces a drunk driving charge if he or she blows a .08 or more during a breath test, whereas a commercial truck driver need only blow a .04. If you refuse the breath test – which is within your legal rights – you may be subject to a blood test. You will also have your license revoked, and commercial drivers could lose their CDLs permanently. A first time offender faces:

  • Jail time. Most drivers are sentenced to between 48 hours and 11 months, 29 days. However, if your Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) is above a .20, you will go to jail for a minimum of 7 consecutive days.
  • Fines and fees. The fines associated with a DUI range between $350 and $1500, but you will be ordered to pay restitution to anyone who was injured or hurt because of your mistake. You’ll also be responsible for any additional towing costs, bail and reinstatement fees.
  • Loss of license. Your license will be revoked for one year – no exceptions.
  • Ignition interlock devices. In Tennessee, a judge has discretion over whether first-time offenders must install an IID. If ordered, you’ll need to pay for that as well.

These penalties increase dramatically if there is a child under the age of 18 in the car with you, or if someone is seriously injured or killed because of a DUI related crash. In both cases, the DUI charges become felonies, which carry mandatory prison time.

Changes to the law for repeat offenders

There is currently a bill in the legislature called the “Recidivism Reduction Act.” The bill, lauded by Governor Bill Haslam, focuses less on punishing repeat offenders and more on helping the addiction which compels them. In short, it lessens the minimum mandatory jail time in favor of a drug and alcohol treatment program.

This is an important step for our legislature to take, as it recognizes that addiction is an illness. However, unless the bill passes repeat offenders face the strictest laws and harshest punishments Tennessee can mete out. As criminal defense attorneys, we understand how these punishments can steal years of your life away from you. We are relentless in our defense of your rights, always striving to have the charges dropped entirely. In cases where we cannot have your charges dropped, we use our masterful negotiation skills to have them reduced to lesser charges, ensuring that you can start a new chapter in your life as easily and quickly as possible.

Putting Maryville drivers’ rights first

Facing a DUI conviction is hard; choosing the right lawyer isn’t. When you work with Shepherd and Associates, P.C., you work with an attorney directly. Please call 865.225.9655 or fill out our contact form to schedule an appointment. Let us hear your side of the story.