It has been six years since a Chattanooga woman filed a lawsuit disputing the Constitutionality of DUI testing fees in Tennessee. On August 24, 2018, the Tennessee Supreme Court ruled in favor of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, finding that the $250 fine associated with DUI testing was within the law.
According to the Memphis Flyer, the original lawsuit argued since the testing fees were only collected by convicted drunk drivers, that those fees were part of a “scheme [which] provides TBI forensic scientists with a personal and institutional financial incentive to produce blood alcohol test results that secure convictions, which, in turn, increases fees and funding for the TBI.” The case went through the lower courts before finally coming before the Tennessee Supreme Court, which found that “as salaried employees, the TBI forensic scientists have no direct, personal, substantial pecuniary interest in fees imposed pursuant to the statute.”
Testing fees are not the only cost of a DUI in Tennessee
A $250 fee is not the only one you will face if you are charged and/or convicted of a DUI in Tennessee. Depending on the circumstances of your case, you could face:
- $350 in fines (for a first-time offense) to $15,000 in fines (4th and subsequent offenses)
- Restitution to anyone injured in a crash related to your DUI
- At least $1000 to install and maintain an Ignition Interlock Device
- $100 license reinstatement fee
- $3 certification fee
- $50 fee for filing SR-22 form (when applicable)
- $75 fee if you fail to surrender your license
- Applicable driver’s license fee (usually $8 for a duplicate) when reinstated, and $19.50 for a hardship license)
You will also have attorneys’ fees, and may face additional fines if you are sued in civil court as well. If you are charged with a federal DUI, meaning you have been charged by the federal government instead of the state of Tennessee, additional fees and fines may apply.
None of these fees, by the way, encompass the loss of wages you may suffer if you do lose your license, or if you end up in jail or prison. Depending on the type of DUI charge you face – i.e., if you are charged with a felony DUI, or if you are charged with another felony crime such as child endangerment – you could find yourself denied housing, denied money for education, and facing the loss of your right to vote or own a firearm.
The cost of a DUI conviction is staggering. This is why, if you are facing DUI charges, you need to work with an experienced DUI defense lawyer. At Delius & McKenzie, PLLC, we offer aggressive representation on behalf of our client who are facing DUI charges. We will do whatever is necessary within the confines of the law to have your charges dropped, to have evidence suppressed, and to ensure that you keep your license. To learn more about your options, call our Sevierville DUI defense lawyers at 865-428-8780 or fill out our contact form. We prudly represent clients in Sevierville, Seymour, Gatlinburg, and Pigeon Forge.