Advocating for You in and Beyond the Courtroom Call for a Free Consultation
Law hammer, alcohol and car keys on wooden table

DUI Penalties in Tennessee

Moreland Law Firm Sept. 15, 2023

According to Tennessee DUI laws, motorists are prohibited from driving or being in actual physical control of a car while under the influence of a controlled substance, alcohol, or both. Unfortunately, a drunk driving conviction can subject you to lengthy imprisonment, substantial fines, license suspension, a criminal record, and other life-changing consequences. With your freedom, career, and future on the line, it is normal to feel overwhelmed and frightened. 

At Moreland Law Firm, we're committed to offering skilled representation and trusted legal counsel to clients in their DUI cases. Our knowledgeable Tennessee criminal defense attorney can investigate your case details, enlighten you about the possible penalties, and strategize a strong defense to help fight your allegations. We're proud to serve clients across Nashville, Lebanon, Franklin, Dickson, Columbia, and Murfreesboro, Tennessee.  

Potential Penalties for a DUI Conviction in Tennessee

Furthermore, statistics from the Crime in Tennessee Report indicate that there were approximately 19,573 and 18,205 DUI-related arrests statewide in 2019 and 2020, respectively. Here are some of the potential penalties and consequences of a DUI conviction in the state of Tennessee: 

Jail Time 

A drunk driving conviction can result in incarceration for several hours, weeks, months, or years in county jail or state prison. The judge will decide the right jail time based on the number of prior convictions and other surrounding circumstances. 


In addition, you may be required to pay a massive fine and other court costs. Depending on the number of prior convictions in Tennessee, fines for DUIs can be as high as $10,000. 

Community Service or Counseling 

Also, the court may order you to perform several hours of community service. Examples of court-ordered community service or counseling include: 

  • doing unpaid or voluntary work within the local community; 

  • working at a charity, nonprofit organization, or public agency; 

  • speaking about the consequence of drunk driving at an event; and/or, 

  • counseling other alcoholics and substance abusers. 


The judge can place you on probation within your community while under supervision. You must report to your designated probation officer and adhere to the terms and provisions of your probation. 

Driver's License Suspension 

Also, your driver's license may be suspended or revoked by the DMV as a penalty for drunk driving charges or as a penalty for refusing breath, blood, or urine tests. This may cause various hardships in your job and other aspects of your life. 

Ignition Interlock Device (IID) 

The IID is a common requirement for drivers convicted of drunk driving. You must use the IID for 365 consecutive days. Unfortunately, you will be unable to start your car without taking a breath alcohol test using the IID. 

Increased Auto Insurance Rates 

According to statistics, auto insurance premiums usually increase by 67%, on average, after a DUI. A drunk driving record remains a big red flag for many insurance providers. Unfortunately, this can increase your insurance rates by over $1,000 yearly. 

Criminal Record 

A DUI in Tennessee will stay on your record permanently. Unfortunately, having a criminal record can cause immediate and life-long consequences for every aspect of your life, including your career, education, employment, and professional opportunities. 

Additional Consequences

Some additional long-term consequences of a DUI conviction include any of the following: 

  • mandatory alcohol or drug treatment programs 

  • job loss while you're in custody 

  • increased difficulty in getting employment or accommodation 

  • increased difficulty in getting government assistance or public benefits 

  • deterioration of professional relationships 

  • ineligibility to obtain certain financial loans 

  • loss of your rights to possess, carry, or own firearms 

  • loss of voting rights 

  • loss of scholarships or university acceptance 

  • damage to personal and family relationships 

If you or someone close to you has been arrested and charged with a DUI offense, you should get in touch with a seasoned criminal defense lawyer straight away. Your attorney can outline an effective defense strategy to fight your charges and help mitigate or avoid the devastating penalties and ramifications of a drunk driving conviction. 

Fight for Your Rights

Getting effective representation is crucial when charged with drunk driving to avoid the far-reaching punishments of a DUI conviction. At Moreland Law Firm, we have the skills and resources to protect individuals charged with DUI from the worst-case scenario. As your attorney, we can review your case details and dispute the accusations against you with factual evidence. 

In addition, we will guide you through the Tennessee criminal justice system and represent you aggressively at every stage of the DUI court proceedings. Above all, our attorney will fight intelligently to defend your driving privileges, attempt to establish your innocence, or ultimately get your case dropped or dismissed. 

Contact us at Moreland Law Firm today to schedule a simple case assessment with a highly-skilled criminal defense attorney. We can offer you the comprehensive guidance and reliable representation you need in your DUI case. Our firm proudly represents clients across Nashville, Lebanon, Franklin, Dickson, Columbia, and Murfreesboro, Tennessee.