Franklin, TN asked in DUI / DWI for Tennessee

Q: I need to show the consequences, when caught, to my step-son for driving while smoking marijuana, he already has a DUI

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1 Lawyer Answer
Brandon D. Fersten
Brandon D. Fersten
  • DUI & DWI Lawyer
  • Knoxville, TN
  • Licensed in Tennessee

A: I would explain to your step-son that he can be charged and convicted of a DUI for driving while smoking marijuana. It is a common misconception that you can only be convicted of DUI for drinking and driving. The DUI statute makes it a crime to drive or be in physical control of a motor driven vehicle while under the influence of a substance that affects the driver's ability to drive. Thus, being under the influence of marijuana, and even being under the influence of prescription drugs that make the driver impaired, can form the basis for a DUI charge and conviction.

As it relates to the specific consequences of a DUI second offense, assuming that your step-son's DUI was a DUI first offense conviction and within the last ten years, the minimum sentence to serve is 45 days and a maximum of 11 months and 29 days (a DUI first is a minimum of 48 hours served). In some circumstances an attorney may be able to decrease the 45 day minimum for a DUI second offense to 25 days of incarceration with the remaining period of the served sentence in a substance abuse treatment program. Similar to a DUI first offense, a DUI second offense is a Class A misdemeanor. Thus, the consequences of a DUI second offense increase significantly from a DUI first offense conviction.

For further illustration, if convicted of a DUI third offense, the minimum sentence increases to 120 days incarcerated or 65 days of incarceration with the remaining period of incarceration in a substance abuse treatment program. If convicted of a DUI fourth offense, the conviction is a Class E Felony, rather than a Class A misdemeanor.

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