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Tennessee DUI bill could result in shorter jail terms for some

Proposed changes to Tennessee DUI law could mean reduced jail time for some people who enroll in treatment programs following conviction.
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    February 13, 2014 /24-7PressRelease/ -- Tennessee DUI bill could result in shorter jail terms for some

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Tennessee lawmakers are considering legislation that could result in shorter jail sentences for people convicted of certain intoxicated driving offenses. If passed, the bill would allow some convicted individuals to reduce the number of days they are required to spend in jail by participating in residential or outpatient alcohol treatment programs.

The proposed law, which is currently pending before the Tennessee General Assembly, is viewed by proponents as an opportunity to cut down on repeat offenses for driving under the influence in Tennessee and make better use of the state's addiction treatment funds.

Bill would expand alcohol treatment options

Under existing Tennessee law, judges are permitted to send second-time DUI offenders to residential treatment facilities for up to 28 days as part of a sentence-reduction program. However, outpatient treatment programs are not an option under the current guidelines, even though those programs can be highly intensive and may require an even longer commitment from participants than the inpatient programs.

The new guidelines, if enacted, would include options for both residential and outpatient alcohol treatment programs for people convicted of second- or third-time DUI offenses. Under the proposed law, second-time DUI offenders would be required to serve at least 15 days in jail before qualifying for the program, while third-time offenders would become eligible after serving at least 60 days in jail.

After become eligible, convicted individuals would have the option of reducing their remaining jail time by participating in a substance abuse treatment program. For inpatient programs, the jail time would be reduced on a day-for-day basis, while those who enroll in outpatient programs would be required to attend at least three evenings of treatment for each day of reduced jail time.

Tennessee DUI penalties

Even for a first-time offense, Tennessee drivers charged with DUI can face harsh consequences if convicted, and the penalties grow more severe with repeat offenses. First-time DUI offenders can be sent to jail for up to 364 days, fined as much as $1,500, and subjected to a one-year license revocation period. Depending on the individual circumstances of the case, a first-time DUI conviction in Tennessee can also result in mandatory enrollment in an alcohol treatment program as well as court-ordered installation of an ignition interlock device at the driver's expense.

In the event that you or a family member is charged with DUI in Tennessee, be sure to get help from an experienced DUI defense lawyer at your earliest opportunity. An attorney with an in-depth understanding of Tennessee DUI law can be a powerful advocate for your rights at all stages of the investigation and prosecution, and will work hard to protect your long-term interests.

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