Technically, DUI means driving under the influence of some type drug. That can mean alcohol, prescriptions, or illegal drugs. DWI means simply driving while intoxicated, and in many states, refers to the use of alcohol. The use of the terms can be interchangeable but DWI usually refers more to the severity the drug has metabolized within the offending person's body.
The Tennessee Vehicle Code 55-10-401 says it is unlawful for any person to drive or to be in physical control of any automobile or other motor driven vehicle on any of the public roads and highways of the state, or on any streets or alleys, or while on the premises of any shopping center, trailer park or any apartment house complex, or any other premises that is generally frequented by the public at large, while:
Under the influence of any intoxicant, marijuana, narcotic drug, or drug producing stimulating effects on the central nervous system; or
The alcohol concentration in the person's blood or breath is eight-hundredths of one percent (.08%) or more.
Convicted first time offenders can receive stiff fines, up to one year in jail, license revocation, an ignition interlock device, court ordered DUI school, and towing costs. The conviction, even a first time conviction, stays on your record permanently.
As reported by myEyeWitnessnews.com on June 22, 2009, an article titled, DUI Law Changes in Tennesse, states, Under this new law, if suspected drunk drivers refuse to take the test (blood alcohol level), they could lose their license for a year, in addition to other charges they would face.
Whatever term you refer to drinking and driving or drunk driving, states are clamping down on these type traffic violations. When you face these kinds of charges, it is no time to handle your case all by yourself. You may need an attorney to help you deal with the ramifications of the charges against you. Contact us and we will help you get in contact with a DUI lawyer who can help you understand the subtle differences in Tennessee law.