Are you familiar with this Tennessee law? If you aren’t, you’re probably not the only one. A DUI by Allowance, also known as a “Vehicle Owner DUI,” is what you can be faced with if you let someone intoxicated drive your car. Just because you’re not the one behind the wheel doesn’t mean that you’re exempt from the repercussions. While you may feel that having a friend drive your car was a better option because they were less intoxicated than you, both of you will still receive the same punishment. This is because the car is in your name and you allowed someone dangerous behind the wheel.
During a drunk driving incident, a car is viewed as a weapon — which it is, when its operation is endangering a large number of people. Much like the rest of the population, though, you probably didn’t realize that you could get in legal trouble just by being a passenger in your vehicle. This is the case, even if you didn’t realize that the person you allowed to drive was also intoxicated.
Ways to Stay Safe
Have a Designated Driver You Trust
If you plan on going out and drinking, be sure you have a trusted designated driver. As mentioned above, you could find yourself with a DUI by Allowance charge if your vehicle was taken (to a bar, party, etc.) and you allowed someone else (who was also intoxicated) to drive it. Not only will this get you into trouble, but significantly compromise the safety of yourselves and those around you. Make sure your designated driver agrees not to drink.
Create a Backup Plan
In case your designated driver slips up (it happens) be sure to have a backup plan in place. Luckily, with taxis and more ride-sharing apps in place, you can get a safe ride back to where you need to be. Consider taking a Lyft or Uber ride to and from where you’re planning to go for the evening.
A DUI By Allowance in Middle Tennessee
As rare as it all sounds, being charged with a DUI by allowance does truly exist. Recently this incident happened in Smyrna, TN when a school teacher allowed a friend to operate her vehicle, even though she knew he was intoxicated. After a police officer observed abnormal driving patterns (the car had a slow reaction time to a green light, followed by swerving) a sobriety test was given to the driver who was heavily intoxicated. The driver and passenger, who is a teacher at a local school, both received DUIs.
What Happens If You Get a DUI by Allowance?
Essentially, the same thing as if you were convicted behind the wheel. Depending on how intoxicated you were, and what happened as a result, will determine the punishments you will have to face. A first offense DUI in the state of Tennessee includes mandatory jail time for a minimum of 48 hours, a fine which can reach as much as $1,500, and a number of other penalties, some of which may be court ordered.
Wilson, Howser, Oliver, & Turner Attorneys at Law
If you are in need of a DUI defense lawyer for a DUI or DUI by Allowance charge, be sure to contact us for an experienced attorney in Murfreesboro, TN. We have got you covered.