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Can a Passenger be Charged with DUI in Tennessee?

Picture of Handcuffs

DUI by Consent Law in Tennessee

In the State of Tennessee, a passenger or owner of a vehicle being operated by a legally impaired driver can also be charged with DUI. This crime is commonly called “DUI by Consent”. Basically, this criminal offense is charging the passenger or owner of the vehicle for the actions of the impaired driver. Obviously, if the driver of the vehicle is not found to be impaired, then the passenger or owner will not be found guilty either.

As stated above, both passenger and owner of a vehicle can be charged with DUI by Consent. The owner portion of the charge comes into play when the owner of the vehicle gives the keys to an obviously impaired driver who is then charged with Driving Under the Influence. Even though the owner may not be in the vehicle at the time of the crime, he or she can be held criminally liable for allowing an intoxicated driver to operate said vehicle. 

Punishment for DUI by Consent

If found guilty of DUI by Consent, the punishment follows that of a standard DUI charge:

  • Mandatory minimum forty-eight (48) hours in jail
  • 11 months 29 days suspended sentence
  • 11 months 29 days supervised probation
  • $350 fine plus court costs
  • 24 hours of community service
  • Loss of driver’s license for one year
  • Alcohol safety school
  • Ignition interlock device installed if BAC >.20

The above referenced is punishment for a standard first offense DUI, with an increase in punishment for second and higher offenses. To learn more about the crime of Driving Under the Influence in Tennessee, click here

Driving Under the Influence of Drugs

With an increase in marijuana legalization nationwide, Driving Under the Influence of Drugs is rising. As we previously wrote about, marijuana use associated with the crime of DUI is changing, and we anticipate that DUI by Consent in Tennessee will change along with it. DUI by Consent where one allows a drug impaired driver to operate his or her vehicle will be more common in Tennessee.  

What To Do if You Have Been Charged With DUI by Consent

If you have been charged with DUI or DUI by Consent, the most important thing you can do is consult with an experienced Memphis criminal defense attorney. The Chiozza Law Firm has represented thousands of individuals in the Shelby County, Bartlett, Germantown, and Millington area facing criminal charges for all types of misdemeanor and felony charges. We understand that everyone makes mistakes at one time or another and the negative impact these charges can have on one’s life. When you consult with a criminal defense attorney at The Chiozza Law Firm, we assure you that we will handle your matter in a confidential manner, while exploring all legal openings to assist in having charges dismissed or working to limit the punishment associated with the alleged crime.

Call The Chiozza Law Firm for Expert Representation

If you need representation or have a general legal question, don’t hesitate to contact The Chiozza Law Firm at 901-526-9494 or visit our office at 230 Adams Avenue, Memphis, TN 38103, conveniently located one block from the criminal courthouse at 201 Poplar. No appointment is necessary, and there is no charge for a consultation. For emergency inquiries, please contact Brian Chiozza.  

We will provide you with a reasonable fee quote and work out payment plans. We strive to provide you with the experience and expert legal representation you deserve. 



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This Blog/Website is made available by the Lawyer or Law Firm Publisher for educational purposes only, as well as to give you information and a general understanding of the law. It is not to provide you with specific legal advice. By reading this blog, you understand there is no attorney/client relationship between you and the Blog/Website Publisher. The Blog/Website should not be used a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed professional attorney in your state.

Posted by Brian Chiozza at 9:59 AM
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