Navigating the high stakes of an out-of-state DUI

As summer draws nearer in Tennessee, many tourists will flock to Nashville and other parts of the state. Unfortunately, a fun vacation can be soured when a police officer pulls you over on suspicion of drunk driving.

A DUI arrest can be devastating at any time. Yet, for those coming from out of state, you may also feel confusion on the process and penalties to follow. You may worry about the effects a DUI can have on your life and driver’s license when you return home.

Tennessee penalties for first-time DUI offenses

Because the DUI occurred in Tennessee, you will face the state’s penalties after a DUI stop. Tennessee is notoriously tough on drunk drivers. Consequences for first-time offenses can include:

  • 48 hours to up to 11 months in jail
  • The revocation of your driver’s license for up to one year
  • Mandatory participation in an alcohol and drug treatment program
  • Fines of up to $1,500
  • Mandatory installation of an Ignition Interlock Device at your own expense

Penalties can worsen based on the details of the traffic stop. When you refuse to take a breath or blood test to determine your blood-alcohol content (BAC) level, Tennessee implied consent law states that you will face the automatic revocation of your driver’s license for one year on your first offense.

Will you face penalties in both states?

Because of the Interstate Driver License Compact, most states share both minor traffic offenses and major violations like DUIs between states. However, Tennessee is one of just five states not included in this compact.

While out-of-state tourists may feel relieved at this, this does not necessary mean your home state will not learn of your DUI. Even when Tennessee law enforcement officials do not notify your home state, you could still face other consequences. For example, when you eventually renew your driver’s license, your DUI in Tennessee will appear on the National Driver Registry. This could result in challenges in getting your license renewed.

Navigating the potential penalties you face

Getting a DUI out of state can be confusing. You may be unsure when to be present for hearings, how your penalties affect you back home and whether you can request to transfer some of your penalties to your home state. Retaining the assistance of a local attorney can help to navigate the challenges ahead and fight to minimize penalties.

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Patrick T. McNally, Attorney at Law
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