After an effort to crack down on drunk driving nationwide in the eighties, DUI accidents have been reduced by 57 percent from 1982 to 2014. Continuing efforts to address the source of the crime through sobriety and treatment courts have also helped improve road safety.
However, annual studies continue to show that there is a lot of work to be done. Recently, Wallethub compiled a list ranking states from the strictest to most lenient in their drunk driving laws. They based their findings on various factors that included fines, minimum jail time for first and second offenses, and automatic felony charges.
How Does Tennessee Rate With Their Drunk Driving Laws?
Based on Wallethub’s point system, Arizona’s top score of 84.09 percent earned them the distinction of having the most severe penalties in 2016. South Dakota earned the designation of most lenient with a point total of 18.64 over the past year.
Tennessee is more of a mixed bag. The state earned 46.36 percentage points and ranked 19th of the states with the harshest drunk driving laws. While they earned 13th in the criminal penalties category, the state’s prevention efforts ranked 36th out of 50 states and the District of Columbia.
Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) also praises Tennessee’s penalties, specifically all-offender ignition interlock laws and no-refusal enforcement. However, they continue to encourage state lawmakers to increase use of administrative license revocation (ALR) as a deterrent.
Regardless of the leniency or strictness of DUI laws in Tennessee, you still have rights that need protection following a drunk driving arrest. A criminal defense attorney is your best chance to legally minimize the consequences you face.
Source: WalletHub, Strictest And Most Lenient States On DUI, Alina Comoreanu, August 10, 2016