If you have already been arrested once for a DUI in Tennessee, you know that your 2nd DUI in Tennessee is going to bring some very severe fines and penalties. You will be facing significant time in jail and severe monetary penalties. So, how can you get Tennessee DUI help and what are your options?
Penalties and Fines for Second DUI in Tennessee
The most troubling off all the penalties for most people will be the mandatory jail time of at least 45 days but no longer than one year. This is a significant increase over first time offenders and means there is far more than your license at risk. Because of the length of the sentence, your employment may be at risk as well.
In addition to the extended jail time, you will also face fines up to $3,500 (with a minimum fine of $600) and have to pay for the installation, maintenance, and upkeep of an Ignition Interlock Device (this alone can cost several thousand dollars over the term of its use).
Anyone convicted of a second DUI in Tennessee will have his or her license suspended for two years, but he or she will be able to apply for reinstatement after one year. However, that person will be required to take a driving test to have the license reinstated. The courts may also add attendance to a DUI school and attendance to a drug and alcohol program. If any person was injured as a direct result of the DUI, restitution must also be made to that individual.
How to Get Help for Second DUI in Tennessee
If you have been arrested, you will need some legal help to fight the charges. Websites such as DUIRights.com offer all of the resources you will need, including the ability to find a local DUI attorney that can help you with your case. We have outlined some recommended steps for you to follow along the way:
1. Gather all of the appropriate paperwork for your attorney. You will need the police report, miscellaneous paperwork associated with the DUI, as well as the results of any chemical and/or road tests that were taken during the arrest.
2. You will need to gather a list of possible witnesses that can refute the testimony of the officer.
3. Research local attorneys and vett them out. You can use this questionnaire as a guideline for your vetting process:
- How long have you been practicing law?
- How long has your practice focused on DUI cases?
- Have you ever had a case like mine?
- Do you usually take your cases to jury or plead them out?
- What is your success rate on jury cases?
- Other than yourself, who will be my main contacts for information about the case?
- What are their qualifications?
- How will you bill the case (flat fee or hourly rate)?
- What is included in the fee?
- Will I be billed for anything else that this fee does not include?
- What are the challenges you see with my case?
- How do you recommend we move forward in my case?
- What do you think the outcome of my case will be?
- Do you have malpractice insurance?
- Have you ever had any disciplinary problems with the State Bar or have you ever been sued for malpractice in a DUI case?
4. Create a short list of attorneys
5. Conduct a second interview if needed to ensure there are no other conflicts with your attorney and them make your decision as to which attorney you would like to hire.
It is important that you are honest with the attorney throughout the process. The last thing any attorney needs during a court case is to be surprised by the prosecutor in the midst of a testimony. You need to put any feelings of embarrassment or shame aside to ensure your attorney knows anything and everything about the case. This is the only way you will have a chance to win your case.
Possible Strategies to Beat Tennessee Second DUI Charges
Invalid Road Tests – the road tests that are conducted by officers are not always valid evidence in a DUI case. While there are some tests that are considered “standard,” officers have been known to create tests to test the soberness of a driver. In addition, the actual passing and failing of these tests is a matter of opinion of that specific officer. There is no rating scale, simply his or her observation as to how you perform during the testing. Furthermore, weather conditions and a person’s health can also affect how he or she performs in these TN field sobriety tests.
Invalid Road Breathalyzer – these devices can be inaccurate when used by a skilled technician, let alone an officer on the road with little experience operating the device.
Chemical Test Results – how were the samples handled? How long after you consumed alcohol, were these tests conducted? Was the technician certified or was it an officer that performed the tests? If there is ANY mishandling of the evidence, it can be thrown out by the courts.
Learn More: Refusal of Tennessee Chemical Test
Rights Violation – were you read your Miranda Rights? Were you “interrogated” prior to your rights being read to you? This is a very important part of the equation because answers you gave and when you gave them can become a major part of the case. If you were tricked into providing information or refused the presence of an attorney, some or all of your testimony may end up being thrown out.
Once your attorney has all of the information, he or she will be able to give you a better idea of how good or bad your case looks. In the meantime, get a Free DUI Arrest Evaluation and educate yourself on the process and how DUI cases are handled in Tennessee. You need to be as much of an asset as possible for your attorney, and the more educated you are, the better information you can provide to help win your case.