Driving under the influence (DUI) in Tennessee may result in a court order for an ignition interlock device (IID). The IID is a small device that is connected to the vehicle’s ignition system. Prior to starting the vehicle, the offender submits a breath sample into the device. If the IID detects a breath alcohol content that is above a pre-set limit, the device prevents the vehicle from starting. Under Tennessee law, the IID is installed with a pre-set limit between 0.02 and 0.05, and the court defines the limit at the time of the IID court order. The offender must obtain the IID from a service provider that is approved by the state.
The court determines if the offender is financially able to afford the cost of the IID. To receive a hardship waiver, the offender must demonstrate to the court that the IID requirement is a financial hardship. If the court determines that the offender is able to afford the device, the offender is responsible for any and all costs associated with the IID. Costs include installation, leasing, purchasing, maintaining, monitoring and removing the device. Offenders can expect to pay, on average, $810 annually for the device. Any offender who violates the court order for an IID commits a Class C misdemeanor and is subject to legal action.
The offender must have the IID serviced by the service provider at least semi-annually. The offender must provide the court with proof of IID installation and proof of periodic maintenance. The offender is responsible for obtaining the documentation from the service provider.
A conviction for a first-time DUI offense results in a $350 to $1,500 fine; a maximum jail sentence of up to 12 months; license revocation of one year and a court order for an IID. Second-time DUI offenses result in a $600 to $3,500 mandatory fine; jail time of up to 12 months; license revocation for two years and a court order for an IID. For a second-time offense, the offender may be eligible for a restricted license after serving 12 months of the license revocation period.
For third-time offenders, the court orders a $1,100 to $10,000 mandatory fine; a maximum jail sentence of up to 12 months; license revocation for three to ten years and a court order for an IID. Third-time offenders are not eligible for restricted licenses. The offender’s vehicle is subject to seizure and forfeiture.
Fourth and subsequent DUI convictions in Tennessee are Class E felonies. Jail time is a minimum of 150 consecutive days and a maximum of one year. The offender’s license is suspended for a period of five years, and the offender is not eligible for a restricted license. The court may order the installation of an IID.
If the offender is convicted of DUI within five years of a previous conviction, the court orders an IID. The IID requirement is for a period of six months after driving privileges are reinstated.
The court may order the offender to install an IID during the period of license suspension or revocation. If, at the time of the DUI arrest, the offender has one prior cancellation, suspension or revocation of driving privileges, the court may order an IID during the period of suspension for the DUI conviction. If, at the time of the DUI arrest, the offender’s driving privileges are cancelled, suspended or revoked, the court may order the installation of an IID during the suspension for the DUI conviction.
Restricted licenses allow offenders to drive for specific purposes. With restricted licenses, offenders may drive to their places of employment and for other work-related purposes. Offenders with restricted licenses may drive for the purposes of appointments with their probation officers and to attend court-ordered alcohol safety programs and court-ordered alcohol and drug treatment programs. The restricted licenses allow offenders to drive for their litter pickup work shifts and to attend worship services.
Any individual who submits an ignition interlock device breath sample for the offender commits a Class A misdemeanor and is subject to legal action. Tampering with or circumventing the device is a Class A misdemeanor and results in legal action. Any individual who knowingly provides the offender with access to a vehicle that is not equipped with an IID commits a Class A misdemeanor and is subject to legal action.
Additional Resources For Ignition Interlock Devices, Breath Alcohol and Ignition Interlock Laws in the State of Tennessee
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