Williamson County Offers DUI Education Program to Help Repeat Offenders
In 2010, Williamson County launched the state’s first standalone DUI court, which boasts a success rate of 86 percent for making sure participants aren’t arrested for more alcohol-related offenses after their initial arrests.
Per a report by The Tennessean, the program currently has 26 active participants who receive education, assistance, and enforcement in three different ways: judge supervision, probation and drug testing, and therapy.
Participants must wear devices that monitor their alcohol intake, submit to two drug tests per week, perform public service work, write their thoughts and progress in a journal, attend weekly meetings with a judge, and attend Alcoholics Anonymous or church-based self-help meetings.
Williamson County’s General Sessions judge says that when she took the bench in 2006, there was a “revolving door” of repeat DUI offenders, and that the state legislature had tried to address the problem by increasing penalties and fines. However, the judge said that repeat offenders would still end up driving under the influence and get arrested.
Instead of simply increasing level of punishment for the offenders, the county decided to emulate the drug court model and treat the root of the problem, which officials say often involves addiction and other psychological disorders.
What Are the Penalties for Driving under the Influence in TN?
The state of Tennessee heavily penalizes drivers who are caught driving under the influence. Because getting behind the wheel while intoxicated is so dangerous—a blood alcohol content (BAC) of around .10 percent increases the likelihood of crashing by almost 500 percent—the state heavily enforces DUI laws to keep drunk drivers off the roadways.
Penalties for being arrested for DUI for each offense in Tennessee include the following:
First-time offenders can be sentenced to anywhere from 48 hours to 11 months, 29 days in jail. If their BAC is .20 percent or greater, their minimum jail time is seven consecutive days. In addition, offenders also lose their licenses for one year, are fined between $350 and $1,500, and must participate in an alcohol and drug treatment program.
Second-time offenders must serve anywhere from 45 days to 11 months, 29 days in jail and pay anywhere from $600 to $3,500 in fines. They may lose their licenses for two years with the option to receive a restricted license after the first year. They also may have to install ignition interlock devices in their vehicles.
Third-time offenders must serve anywhere from 120 days to 11 months, 29 days in jail and pay anywhere from $1,100 to $10,000 in fines. License revocations last anywhere from six years to 10 years with no option of receiving a restricted license.
Fourth-time offenders and offenders who go beyond that are charged with a Class E felony and a minimum one-year jail sentence. They also must pay between $3,000 and $15,000 in fines and can lose their licenses for up to eight years with no option of receiving a restricted license.
Penalties can increase depending on the circumstances of the arrest. If an intoxicated driver causes another person to suffer an injury, he or she can be charged with a Class D felony and be sentenced to anywhere from two to 12 years of imprisonment. Getting charged with DUI with a passenger under 18 years old in the vehicle results in a Class D felony if the child is injured and a Class B felony if the child dies, which carries an eight to 30-year prison sentence.
At Matt Hardin Law, our Nashville drunk driving accident attorneys know how dangerous it is when people consume alcohol and get behind the wheel of a vehicle. Alcohol consumption impairs judgment, blurs vision, and reduces reaction times, making drivers much more likely to cause accidents that injure and kill others.
If you or someone you know was hurt in a crash caused by a driver that was under the influence of alcohol or drugs, you may be eligible to file a claim for compensation. To find out how our legal team can assist you with your claim, just dial (615) 200-1111 or complete a free online consultation form.