Like many other states, Tennessee views driving under the influence (DUI) automobile accidents and the resulting damages as highly preventable. Therefore, the state has enacted increasingly aggressive laws to deter motorists from driving under the influence or repeating the crime. Some of these consequences include hefty fines, incarceration time, and loss of a driver’s license.
A Columbia DUI lawyer may be able to provide vital assistance if you are charged with an offense like this. In some cases, charges can potentially be reduced or removed entirely. Enlist the help of a skilled criminal defense attorney to ensure that your case has the best chance of a positive resolution.
DUI Penalties in Columbia
In the state, a standard DUI offense is classified as a misdemeanor. However, the penalties for driving while intoxicated closely resemble those of a felony charge. This includes a minimum of 48 hours and up to 11 months and 29 days in jail, fines ranging from $350-$1,500, community service, and license suspension. A Columbia DUI attorney could help someone reduce or eliminate these penalties altogether.
In some cases, a provisional license may be provided for individuals convicted of driving while intoxicated. This provisional license typically includes using a breathalyzer-based ignition system which is installed on the convicted person’s vehicle. Furthermore, the provisional license only allows travel to designated locations such as work, church, school, and back home.
It is important to note that a DUI offense remains on someone’s criminal record indefinitely. Unfortunately, a DUI charge may carry additional penalties beyond those mandated by the court. The social stigma of driving while intoxicated, as well as the charge appearing on someone’s record, may affect someone’s employment and other potential opportunities due to the negative perception.
Intoxication Levels Required for a DUI Charge
Under Tennessee Code Annotated § 55-10-401, for all adults over 21 years of age, a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level of .08 is considered above the legal limit and may result in a DUI charge. Additionally, motorists under the age of 21 can receive a charge for a BAC level of .02 or higher. Additionally, anyone can be detained and prosecuted for driving under the influence of narcotics or alcohol.
Even if someone’s BAC was below the legal limit, officers might arrest and charge them with driving while intoxicated. This is because DUI arrests and charges are made exclusively on the police officer’s judgment, regardless of the suspect’s BAC.
Enlisting the experience of a DUI attorney in Columbia may prove crucial if overcoming a charge based on an officer’s opinion. In most cases, the officer’s statement and testimony is used against the accused party during their hearing. Knowledge of individual rights, criminal law, and criminal procedure become extremely important to protect the accused party’s rights.
Connect with a Columbia DUI Attorney Now to Learn More
The possible long-term consequences of a conviction for driving while intoxicated can be devastating, but you do not have to defend yourself alone. Your rights, freedom, and livelihood deserve protection. Speak with a Columbia DUI lawyer by scheduling a consultation with our office today.