Law Office of Edward E. DeWerff - Clarksville Criminal Defense Attorney

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The price and pain of DUI

The hours add up to 8,736. During those days and nights in jail, 524,160 minutes will tick by. A person might even count the seconds (31,449,600). All of that time behind Montgomery County Jail bars can be for a first drunk driving offense, believe it or not.

Whoever said that Tennessee has tough DUI laws had a gift for understatement. A first-time offender with a blood-alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08 percent (the legal threshold) can be required to serve from 48 hours to 11 months and 29 days in jail.

DUI offenders also face the possibility of having their driver's license suspended for a full year. That can mean no driving to work, no driving to school, no driving to Fort Campbell and no driving anywhere else in the Clarksville area.

You can also be ordered by the court to enroll in an alcohol and drug treatment program, as well as pay fines ranging from $350 to $1,500. (You are also virtually guaranteed to see your auto insurance premiums take a significant hike in price, too.)

You will also be on the hook for any towing service ordered by the city or county, as well as court costs and fees for reinstatement of your license. On top of all of that, you can also be ordered by the judge to have an ignition interlock device installed in your vehicle at your expense. The state says the cost of installation and maintenance of the ignition interlock will run at least $1,000 per year.

And just like an infomercial on late-night TV, wait, there's even more: if you get two DUIs within five years, you will be required to have the ignition interlock in your vehicle for at least six months. The fines for that second offense climb quickly: you might be ordered to pay up a $3,500 mandatory fine and you might also have your vehicle seized by law enforcement officials or have to forfeit it to them.

Rather than try to deal with all of this on your own, it makes sense to enlist the help of an experienced DUI defense attorney who knows the law, has negotiated with prosecutors and has helped clients to receive reduced or dropped charges in similar circumstances.

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