DUI Laws in Tennessee

DUI Laws in Tennessee

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Driving a vehicle in the state of Tennessee under the influence of either alcohol or narcotics is strictly prohibited. The DUI Law in the state  restricts individuals from driving/operating a vehicle under the following conditions: 

  • Driving under the influence of alcohol with a BAC of .8% or more for standard drivers
  • Driving under the influence of alcohol with a BAC of .4% or more for commercial drivers
  • Driving under the influence of any banned or illegal narcotic substances

The DUI law in Tennessee defines the term “driving under the influence” as the driver’s inability to drive or operate the vehicle due to the impairment caused by either drugs or alcohol which directly affects decision making and awareness level of the driver.

What happens when you get convicted for a DUI/DWI in Tennessee?

Below are some of the consequences one might face in Tennessee after being convicted of a DUI:

  • Driver’s License Suspension:

The most straightforward consequence of a DUI charge is that your driver’s license will be suspended for a certain period of time even though you haven’t been convicted–unless you take immediate legal action.

  • Jail Sentence:

The jail sentence for a DUI violation in Tennessee will depend on various factors such as the seriousness of the offence committed, number of previous violations and other factors. As a first time DUI offender, the driver will face a minimum jail time of 10-365 days in jail.

  • Financial consequences:

The most excruciating part of a DUI charge is the exorbitant amount of penalties and fines one has to pay in accordance with the law. There are several other charges such as paying for a DUI school course or an alcohol treatment program which is mandatory for certain offenders.

Additionally, the car you drove while being arrested might also be impounded by the authorities and you may also be required to pay a certain amount for each day it stays in the impound lot. License reinstatement comes with its own fee. And most importantly, having a DUI charge on your driving record will raise the rates of your auto insurance premium. 

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Penalties for a DWI conviction in Tennessee

Offence Count 

1st Offence 

2nd Offence

3rd Offence





License Suspension

365 Days

2 years

6 Years


48 hours-11 months, 29 days (7-day minimum with a .20% BAC or more)

45 days-11 months, 29 days

120 days-11 months, 29 days.

Tennessee’s Implied Consent Law:

 The Implied consent law in Tennessee states that all drivers lawfully charged with a DUI need to submit their blood/urine sample for further investigation and on failure to do so will result in  license suspension.

Offence Count 

1st Offense

1st Offence with Crash Involving Injury 

1st Offence with Crash Involving Death

2nd Offence with Crash Involving Injury 

License Suspension

1 Year 

2 Years

5 Years

2 Years

SR22 Insurance in Tennessee

SR22 is a legal document you are required to file to get your driver’s license reinstated. The Tennessee SR22 insurance certifies that you have the minimum state-required car insurance coverage required to drive a vehicle and get your license reinstated.

You will require a Tennessee SR-22 Insurance after being convicted of one of a few serious driving offences.

  • DUI, DWI, or other major traffic violations.
  • You were involved in an accident where there was bodily injury, death, or damage to property and the driver did not have minimum liability insurance.
  • When there are unpaid legal judgments
  • Caught without auto insurance or are unable to show proof of insurance to the authorities.
  • When there are excessive violations within a short period of time
  • Failure to pay child support


The most suitable way to avoid getting charged with a DWI violation or having to pay hefty DWI fines is to abstain yourself from driving when you are under the influence of alcohol. But that might not necessarily happen as mistakes are bound to take place as the statistics have shown over the years (more than 18,700 Tennessee drivers per year get charged with a DWI violation on average).

We at
SR22InsuranceNow aim to provide you with the most accurate and up to date information regarding Tennessee DUI laws so that you can take the right decision if a certain situation arises.

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