sub banner image

What is Considered a Felony DUI in Tennessee?

Alcohol-impaired driving is associated with an increase in injuries and fatalities. In a recent five-year period, Davidson County experienced 135 fatalities related to inebriated motorists. While most DUI offenses are considered misdemeanors, there are circumstances in which a driver may be charged with a felony DUI.

If you have been recently charged with a felony DUI in or near Nashville, you need a felony DUI lawyer who can come to your defense.

DUI Charges in Tennessee

Operating a motor vehicle while impaired is a criminal offense, accompanied by steep fines and potential imprisonment. Under Tennessee law, it is illegal to drive an automobile if your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is 0.08% or more. That applies to the operation of a passenger vehicle.

If you are driving a commercial vehicle, you are in violation of the law if your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is 0.04% or greater. Commercial vehicle drivers face stricter penalties, with a second DUI conviction resulting in lifetime license suspension.

What Signs Do Police Officers Look for When Pulling a Driver Over?

While a BAC can be tested through a urine sample, blood test, or breathalyzer, a police officer has to be trained to detect the signs that a driver is impaired.

The following behaviors typically indicate driver impairment:

  • Straddling lane lines
  • Weaving in and out of traffic
  • Jerky or sharp turns
  • Drifting
  • Driving in the wrong lane
  • Driving without headlights at night
  • Accelerating or decelerating for no apparent reason

In What Situations Is a DUI a Felony?

DUI penalties in the Volunteer State increase in severity based on the number of prior offenses. If there are no aggravating circumstances, a DUI is not a felony unless it is your fourth or subsequent offense. However, first, second, and third DUI offenses are still accompanied by jail time, license revocation, and steep fines.

Fourth or Subsequent DUI

A fourth or subsequent DUI is a Class E felony, entailing the following punishments:

  • Imprisonment of 365 days, with a minimum of 150 consecutive days
  • Eight-year license revocation, with a restricted license available
  • Vehicle seizure or forfeiture
  • $3,000 to $15,000 in mandatory fines
  • If you have two DUI convictions within a five-year period, an ignition interlock device (IID) is required for six months after license reinstatement

Aggravating Factors

Certain factors can enhance a misdemeanor DUI to a felony offense. These include:

  • Serious injury to a minor passenger: A Class D felony, punishable by incarceration of 12 years, fines of $5,000, and a five-year license suspension.
  • Death to a minor passenger: A Class B felony, punishable by incarceration of 30 years, fines of $25,000, and a 10-year license suspension.
  • Serious injury to another person: Charged as vehicular assault, a first offense is a Class D felony.
  • Another person’s death: Charged as vehicular homicide, if someone dies as the result of you driving intoxicated, it is a Class B felony.

Charged with a Felony DUI? Speak with our Nashville, TN, DUI Defense Lawyer Today

Everybody deserves aggressive representation when facing potential imprisonment. At Andrew C. Beasley, PLLC, we believe that you deserve effective counsel to get DUI charges reduced or dismissed. To schedule your free case review, contact our Nashville, TN, DUI lawyer today by phone or by filling out our online contact form.

Get In Touch With Us

By checking this box you agree to receive text messages at the number provided