The state of Tennessee recognizes that many people learn their lesson, so to speak, after one DUI offense. However, there are others who exhibit habitual disrespect for state laws and who do not understand that driving is not a constitutional right—it is a privilege. For those people, statutes have been put in place to classify them as habitual motor vehicle offenders.
There are a number of motor-vehicle related offenses that, if committed multiple times within a certain amount of time, can lead to the offender being labeled as habitual. These offenses include voluntary manslaughter with a vehicle, vehicular homicide, vehicular assault and DUI, among others.
Tennessee law defines a habitual motor vehicle offender as anyone who is convicted of any of the aforementioned crimes three or more times in a five year period, or five or more times in a 10 year period. Only convictions occurring in the state of Tennessee count toward the habitual offender classification.
In the event that an offender commits any of the qualifying crimes the prescribed number of times, the Commissioner of the Department of Public Safety can initiate the action to have that offender declared habitual by sending the information to the District Attorney. The District Attorney will then file a petition in the county in which the driver resides, and a hearing will be held. A jury trial may be requested by either party who claims a factual dispute. Based on the ruling of the court, the petition will either be dismissed or the offender will be classified as habitual, and their driver’s license will be suspended.
If you are classified as a habitual offender, you may not apply for license reinstatement for at least three years. If you are caught driving during the suspension period, you will be guilty of a Class E felony, which is punishable by up to six years in prison and a fine of no more than $3,000.
Being deemed a habitual motor vehicle offender can have devastating effects on your future. If you are facing DUI charges in the state of Tennessee, call the Garza Law Firm to see how we can help you.
Call (888) 680-7554 to schedule a no-risk, free consultation of your Tennessee DUI case today.