Tennessee May Be Next to Add New Penalties for Drunk Driving Convictions

Tennessee legislators are now considering tougher laws in an attempt to decrease the number of driving under the influence and driving while intoxicated violations in the state.  One of the biggest changes to the proposed law would require ignition interlock devices for all people convicted of drunk driving, not just repeat offenders of those who had high BAC levels.

As of January 1, 2011, Tennessee law requires the following people to purchase and install ignition interlock devices if they want to have their driving rights reinstated after a suspension:

  • Those convicted of DUI offenses with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) levels of 0.15 or higher
  • Those who have received multiple DUI or DWI convictions
  • First-time offenders are subject to stiff penalties such as:
  • Jail time of over 360 days
  • Fines as high as $1,500
  • Driver’s license suspension of one year
  • Community service

The biggest change to the proposed law would require ignition interlock devices for all people convicted of drunk driving, not just repeat offenders of those who had high BAC levels.

The added expense of the ignition interlock system drastically raises the bar for those convicted of a DUI or a DWI.  Installation of these devices can be expensive and monthly fees and testing costs are also required from those who are required to have them.  Total costs can sometimes exceed $1500.  The added expense also makes the cost of an occupational license prohibitive.