A DUI is a serious offense in Tennessee. However, when a DUI leads to another person suffering a serious injury or getting killed, then a conviction can result in even harsher penalties.
DUI Vehicular Assault in Tennessee
If a person causes serious bodily injury to someone else due to driving under the influence, he/she may be charged with vehicular assault in Tennessee. In order to be found guilty of vehicular assault, the State must prove (1) the defendant caused serious injury, (2) the serious injury was the result of driving while intoxicated, and (3) the defendant acted in a reckless manner.
Vehicular assault in Tennessee is a Class D felony, which carries a maximum prison sentence of 12 years and/or a fine of up to $5,000. A conviction also leads to driver’s license suspension for one year for a first offense, two years for a second offense, three years for a third offense, and five years for a fourth or subsequent offense.
However, if the driver has two or more prior DUI convictions or habitual offender violations, one or more prior convictions for vehicular assault, vehicular homicide, or aggravated vehicular homicide, or a blood alcohol content (BAC) of at least .2 percent and has one prior DUI conviction or habitual offender violation, then the offense is elevated to aggravated vehicular assault. This offense is a Class C felony, punishable by imprisonment for up to 15 years and/or a maximum fine of $15,000.
DUI Vehicular Homicide in TN
If a person causes another individual’s death as a result of driving under the influence, he/she may be charged with vehicular homicide. Additionally, vehicular homicide charges may be brought against someone if he/she drives in a manner that creates a substantial risk of death or serious injury, participates in a street race, or causes a construction zone death.
A DUI vehicular homicide conviction is a Class B felony, punishable by imprisonment for up to 30 years and/or a fine not exceeding $25,000. However, if an offender has at least two prior DUI or vehicular assault convictions and had a BAC of at least .2 percent, he/she can be charged with aggravated vehicular homicide, which is a Class A felony that carries a maximum prison term of 60 years and/or a fine no more than $50,000.
If you or a loved one has been charged with a DUI in Knoxville, contact Eldridge & Blakney, PC today at (865) 544-2010 for a free initial consultation. Our legal team has more than 55 years of collective legal experience!