If you have been charged with driving under the influence and have no criminal background or history of DUI, you may be able to receive an alternative sentence. The state of Tennessee offers a few different avenues for first-time offenders to avoid serving lengthy jail sentences. In some cases, you may even be able to have the charge expunged from your permanent record.
Alternative sentencing programs have very strict guidelines and eligibility requirements. An experienced attorney will be able to inform you of which potential alternative sentencing programs may be applied in your case.
In some cases, a judge may allow a DUI offender to complete a community corrections program in lieu of serving some of the jail time. Generally speaking, only non-violent offenders are allowed to enter community corrections programs. Program participants are monitored very closely and required to adhere to strict guidelines, which are overseen by probation officers. In almost all cases, a DUI conviction requires at least some time in jail.
Under certain circumstances, the state of Tennessee will allow for judicial diversion, a process in which the offender pleads guilty but later has the charge removed from their permanent record. Judicial diversion is only granted in cases that meet very specific criteria; for example, judicial diversion is open ONLY to first-time offenders, however, not first-time DUI offenders. If you have any type of previous criminal charge on your record, you will not qualify for judicial diversion. In Tennessee, the legislature has determined that no one convicted of a DUI is eligible for diversion.
Essentially, if judicial diversion is granted (on an offense other than DUI or other serious criminal offense), the offender will enter a guilty plea to the charges they are facing. After the guilty plea has been entered, the offender may apply for diversion. The application goes through the Tennessee Bureau of Investigations and, if approved, the offender then serves a period of probation. After the probation sentence is served—to include completing any mandatory classes and paying all restitution and probation fees—the entire case may be expunged from the offender’s record.
If you have been charged with DUI or other crime in Tennessee, you may be eligible for alternative sentencing. Call attorney Marcos Garza at (888) 680-7554 to schedule a free case consultation.