What a DUI Really Means for Your Bank Account

A conviction for driving under the influence in Tennessee has a major impact on the life of the defendant well beyond actual punishment imposed by the court. The conviction ultimately generates a criminal record, which is a situation many convicted drunk drivers may never have experienced previously.

The conviction stays on the driving record of the defendant for at least 10 years, and certain circumstances could even result in a 20-year lookback period when the case includes an accident resulting in serious injury or a fatality. In addition, it can also create future problems when the charge is based on driving under the influence of drugs or when other charges can apply if the defendant later applies for public housing or certain types of employment.

Even for those who already know this information, they may not know just what a DUI really costs. Here is what a DUI could mean for your bank account.


Monetary penalties for a DUI conviction in Tennessee can be extensive even for the first offense. Fines can range from $350-1000 for a first conviction, with subsequent DUI convictions being assessed upwards to $10,000 for a third offense within the look-back period.

Cases involving accidents could also result in a lawsuit when others are physically injured, and many times the amount of damages are well beyond insurance coverage maximums. These funds can be attached through personal property or wage garnishment in addition to fines.

Driver’s Education

All convicted drivers will be required to complete an alcoholic drivers education program approved by the state. The programs all carry a significant service fee that is paid by the defendant through the whole process, which is usually one year. This applies to first offenses as well as subsequent convictions and is in addition to service fees that may be imposed by the court.

Ignition Interlock Devices

Many courts will require a convicted impaired driver to install an approved ignition interlock device that is essentially a breathalyzer sample machine that must be passed before a driver can start the automobile. This device also comes with a rental fee that must be maintained by the provider. All miscellaneous expenses associated with an IID are paid by the defendant.

Lost Wages

DUI convictions also carry a license suspension penalty based on the conviction level, many times leaving the defendant without a method of getting to work. Even when transportation is available, there can still be other associated costs for the inability to run errands and conduct personal business such as attending required education classes.

Some individuals, such as truck drivers, can actually have an occupational license revoked, which could lead to having to find different employment. Work release is not always guaranteed when jail sentences are imposed, which could also result in lost wages or even termination. And, this is not to mention insurance premium increases during the lookback period.

Always remember that retaining an attorney to fight a DUI charge is an investment in your financial future as much as your freedom. Your attorney can matter immensely when it comes to protecting your future. The attorney to call in Knoxville is Joseph A. Fanduzz.

Contact our Knoxville criminal defense firm at (865) 896-9971 for a case evaluation.

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