Memphis, TN- There’s a big chance that a half of Tennesseans charged with one DUI will be charged with a second DUI. Nationwide, close to half of the individuals convicted of their first DUI are going to drink and drive again and possibly cause a devastating accident. Not all second-time DUI offenders cause accidents, but is enough of a problem in Tennessee that lawmakers took steps to make penalties for these offenders more stringent by passing Amelia’s Law.
That law is named after Amelia Keown, a teen girl who was killed by a drunken driver in August 2012 as she was driving home. The man who struck Amelia was man who was on parole for an impaired driving charge and had been involved in a string of traffic accidents. He was also a repeat DUI offender and was intoxicated when he hit Amelia head-on at just 16. After losing their daughter, Amelia’s family began lobbying Tennessee lawmakers to make the state’s DUI laws tougher on repeat offenders like the man who killed their daughter.
Their hard work resulted in two pieces of legislation that cracks down on repeat DUI offenders: Amelia’s Law and the DUI Recidivism Act. Both laws, which went into effect on July 1, 2014, imposes tougher penalties on repeat offenders, according to the Daily Times.
Under Amelia’s law, individuals who are parole for a drunken or drugged driving, can be monitored for drug or alcohol use. The law applies to intoxicated drivers and any offender or parolee whose crime involved drug or alcohol use. The monitoring is done with either an ankle monitor or a transdermal patch both of which measure the drugs and alcohol on the offender’s skin. An offender’s skin is tested every 30 minutes.
Under Amelia’s law, these drug and alcohol monitors must test take a sample of an offender’s perspiration every thirty minutes, twenty- four hours a day to ensure compliance.
The DUI Recidivism Reduction Act specifically targets repeat drunken driver and required they took participate in a rehabilitation program once they are released from jail.
Drunken drivers are not seen as violent offenders, so monitoring is seen as an effective way to prevent repeat offenses and can ease prison overcrowding. Lawmakers also passed the law in an effort to make the streets of Tennessee safer.
The enactment of those two laws means that if you are facing more consequences and out of pocket costs if you’re charged a second time. Those penalties are on top of possible jail sentence of 45 days up to 12 months in jail; fines ranging from $350 to $1,500 losing your license for up to one year, possibly more.
Drunken or drugged driving has numerous personal consequences and can be costly along with the negative ramifications of having a criminal record. With these harsher laws in place, it’s important for first-time of repeat DUI offenders to retain a DUI defense lawyer near their Tennessee location to provide them with an unbeatable defense.