New Law on Treatment for 2nd and 3rd Offense DUIs

Welcome to my first blog post. Hopefully when you return in the future you will be able to see a discussion or commentary on important legal topics of the day such as changes in the Tennessee criminal code or significant appellate court opinions that effect our area.

One thing I will talk about a lot is DUI. With the summer upon us and the upcoming 4th of July holiday, there is going to be a lot of drinking going on and as a result, some of you might get charged with DUI. There will probably be some DUI check points this holiday season. The best way to avoid a DUI is to not drink and drive and to designate a sober driver, or just take a cab home. A cab can be expensive, but it will probably be less than the bond to get out of jail, let alone the cost of an attorney, court costs and fines, and the increase in insurance rates and a ignition interlock device on your car so you can keep driving.

Most new laws in Tennessee go into effect July 1 of each year. There are some new changes in DUI law.

One law change called the Recidivism Reduction Act applies only to 2nd and 3rd DUI offenders. This is a post sentencing law. It amends the current DUI law as it applies to 2nd and 3rd DUI offender. Previously only a 2nd offense DUI could get sent for inpatient treatment and have that time credited towards their jail sentence. Now a 2nd offense has to serve 25 days of their jail sentence and a 3rd offense DUI 65 days before they can apply to go through an alcohol and drug assessment and then they may go to an inpatient treatment if the sentencing judge approves. The offender will receive day for day credit for inpatient treatment if it is successfully completed. Also, the offender would be given 1 day of jail credit for every 9 hours of outpatient treatment if the treatment is successfully completed. If after completing the treatment, the offender still has jail time to serve the offender would have to serve the balance of the time while a person who had more rehab credit than jail sentence, the offender would not have to go back to jail.

If the person does not successfully complete the program, it would be a violation of probation and the judge can re-sentence the offender and get no credits to jail. A person arrested before July 1 but sentenced after July can opt into the program.

This is an interesting new law. We will all have to wait and see if it truly help reduce the level of recidivism in DUI cases. I think this new law is the first real approach to getting someone legitamate treatment that will actually help the multiple DUI offender.

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