Getting a DUI is a quick way to end up in debt and to face several other penalties. DUIs affect you in a variety of ways, not just by potentially leading to jail time or fines.

This may be your first DUI charge. If it is, then you should take the time to work through a defense, because reducing penalties or potentially having the charge dropped could help you minimize the damage that the DUI charge results in once it becomes a conviction.

What happens when you’re convicted of a DUI charge (1st offense?)

Every case is treated independently, but there are some specific penalties that are possible in Tennessee. Some of these include:

  • Potential jail time of between 48 hours and up to 11 months and 29 days
  • A minimum of seven days in jail if you had a blood alcohol concentration of .20% or higher
  • Fines of between $350 and $1,500
  • Required participation in a drug and alcohol treatment program
  • Losing your license for a year (there is a possibility of obtaining a restricted license)
  • Being required to pay restitution to another party if you harmed them while intoxicated

How much could a DUI charge cost?

This DUI charge could cost $4,900 just considering towing, bail, addiction treatment/schooling, high-risk insurance, reinstatement fees and court costs. Those aren’t the only aspects of your life that could be affected, though. You could also see an impact on your financial life if you lose your job due to a conviction or because you miss payments and have fees from being unable to work due to jail or losing your job.

Is it important to defend yourself against a first-offense DUI?

Like with any charges, it is important to defend yourself. A defense isn’t just about proving that you’re innocent. It is also a smart way to make sure that the court system and authorities treat you fairly. Your attorney is there to make sure you’re not asked unfair questions and that you don’t say things that could result in incriminating yourself. It is important that you thoroughly prepare for court, which includes learning how to act, what you should wear and what you should or should not say to the judge or others during a trial. Your attorney will be there to support you, so this charge has as little of an effect on your life as possible.