DUI laws in Tennessee will undergo on July 1, in the new fiscal year. The penalties for those convicted of drunk driving will become stricter. This applies in particular to those who are convicted of a DUI six times or more, raising the stakes from a Class E to a Class C felony. With a Class C felony, this will double the amount of time one must serve their penalties.
It will also look at prior convictions, no matter how old the offense was, erasing the notion of a “lookback period” that some other states have. When evaluating these cases, what will also be reviewed are the evidence of any previous DUI convictions that had occurred out of the state.
The laws that will enhance penalties for habitual offenders in the following ways:
- A criminal background check will be performed to determine if the person has had previous DUI’s
- Required installation of the Ignition Interlock Device, unless there is a compelling reason against this
The reasoning behind the increased penalties and the new laws is that many legislators believe that the connection between the high number of fatal drunk driving accidents has to do with the driver’s criminal history. Drivers who have had a pattern of being convicted of DUI’s in the past were the ones most likely to be the cause of a deadly car crash.
After a DUI Arrest: The New Laws
Anytime someone is arrested for driving under the influence, vehicular homicide, or some other crime that involves a driver negligence, vehicular assault, or using the vehicle as a weapon must have his or her fingerprints taken. If convicted of a vehicular crime, those fingerprints will then be entered into the National Crime Information Center (NCIC), where that person will become known as a habitual offender.
Ultimately, the legislators’ idea behind these new laws is not only to tighten the regulation but also ensure that no one is even tempted by the thought of driving drunk. The research has shown that tighter DUI laws has helped deter people from drunk driving and decreased the number of accidents that occurred.
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One form of relief that may be available is a judicial diversion, or pleading guilty, at least conditionally. This may mean serving some time in jail for up to 30 days, but it can also mean that once you complete the diversion status and fulfill the other terms of the diversion the case can be thrown out.
This is important news for our Nashville DUI attorneys, who fight each and every day to protect the legal rights of those accused of a serious offense. If you are currently facing DUI charges, we urge you to seek counsel with our DUI lawyers in Nashville. Every person deserves to have their rights protected.
Call us at (615) 610-0728 to make your appointment.