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Tennessee Lowers BAC Threshold for Aggravated DUI Crimes

Generally, the severity of the penalty for DUI crimes depends, in part, on the alleged offender’s BAC at the time of their arrest. In other words, most states impose stricter punishments for what are considered “aggravated” DUI crimes, which is usually defined by a BAC level above a certain limit. Recently, Tennessee passed two laws that will impact the prosecution of DUI offenses, by lowering the threshold for aggravated offenses and offering alternatives to jail time. While the changes do not impact Illinois law, they may provide insight on modifications to come in DUI laws throughout the country. If you are accused of committing a DUI offense, it is sensible to speak to an Illinois DUI defense lawyer promptly.

Tennessee’s New DUI Laws

It is reported that two new DUI laws set to take effect on July 1, 2024, in Tennessee will introduce stricter penalties for those caught driving under the influence. The first law lowers the blood alcohol concentration (BAC) threshold for aggravated DUI from 0.20% to 0.15%. This change means that first-time offenders with a BAC over 0.15% will now face a mandatory seven-day jail sentence, significantly increasing from the previous penalty of 48 hours.

Allegedly, offenders will face other penalties as well, including the mandatory installation of an ignition interlock device in their vehicles for a year. This device requires drivers to pass a breathalyzer test before starting their vehicle, aiming to prevent repeat offenses. The second law offers a new option for serving time for first-time DUI offenders. Instead of serving jail time, offenders may, at the discretion of the judge and prosecutor, serve their sentence in an alternative facility.

Penalties for DUI Convictions Under Illinois Law

In Illinois, DUI convictions carry escalating penalties based on the number of offenses and the blood alcohol concentration (BAC) at the time of the offense. For a first conviction with a BAC of 0.16% or more, there is a mandatory minimum fine of $500 and at least 100 hours of community service. A second conviction is classified as a Class A misdemeanor, with a mandatory minimum of five days in jail or 240 hours of community service, a five-year revocation of driving privileges, and suspension of vehicle registration.

If the BAC is 0.16% or more, the penalties include two days of imprisonment and a $1,250 fine. A third conviction, considered an aggravated DUI and a Class 2 felony, results in a minimum ten-year revocation of driving privileges, vehicle registration suspension, and, if the BAC is 0.16% or more, 90 days of imprisonment and a $2,500 fine. A fourth conviction, also an aggravated DUI and a Class 2 felony, leads to a lifetime revocation of driving privileges, suspension of vehicle registration, and a $5,000 fine for a BAC of 0.16% or more.

Fifth and sixth convictions escalate to Class 1 and Class X felonies, respectively, both resulting in lifetime revocation of driving privileges, suspension of vehicle registration, and a $5,000 fine for a BAC of 0.16% or more. All aggravated DUI offenses involve mandatory imprisonment or community service that cannot be suspended or reduced, with probation or conditional discharge requiring a minimum of 480 hours of community service or ten days of imprisonment.

Meet with an Experienced Illinois DUI Defense Attorney

People accused of DUI charges can face significant penalties, especially if they had an elevated BAC level at the time of their arrest. If you are accused of a DUI offense, it is prudent to meet with  an attorney to evaluate your potential defenses. Attorney Theodore J. Harvatin of the Harvatin Law Offices, PC, is an experienced DUI defense lawyer who can aid you in taking the steps necessary to protect your interests. You can contact Mr. Harvatin to arrange a meeting by calling 217.525.0520 or using the online form.

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