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Just how strict are Tennessee's DUI laws?

It's no secret that law enforcement officials and lawmakers across the nation have become increasingly hard-line when it comes to driving under the influence, making more arrests and increasing both the criminal and administrative penalties for those convicted of DUI charges.

Interestingly, the financial news outlet WalletHub recently published the results of a study exploring just how seriously this crackdown on drunk driving has become, ranking the 50 states on the severity of their respective DUI laws and examining the general state of DUI enforcement.

What state was determined to have the strictest drunk driving laws and which state was determined to have the most lenient drunk driving laws?

The study found that Arizona had the most stringent DUI laws in the nation, while South Dakota had the most lenient drunk driving laws. By way of comparison, consider that Arizona mandates first-time offenders must spend a minimum of 10 days in jail while second-time offenders must spend a minimum of 90 days in jail. South Dakota, on the other hand, has no minimum sentence for either first- or second-time offenders.

Where did Tennessee rank in the study?

Tennessee was found to have the twelfth strictest DUI laws in the nation. This makes sense when you consider things like second-time offenders having to spend a minimum of 45 days in jail, mandatory ignition interlock devices being installed for all offenders for 12 months, and prior DUI convictions being factored into penalties for ten years.

How did WalletHub arrive at these rankings?

The methodology for the study was fairly straightforward in that the researchers identified 15 metrics -- six for criminal penalties and nine for prevention -- and awarded states a larger number of points for taking a more stringent stance.

By way of illustration, a state that mandates second-time offenders must spend a minimum of 60 days in jail for a second DUI offense earned seven points, while a state that mandates second-time offenders must spend less than 10 days in jail for a second DUI offense earned zero points.

The following should once again serve to underscore just how serious a DUI arrest can be here in Tennessee regardless of whether it's your first or fourth. As such, you should always give very strong consideration to speaking with a skilled legal professional as soon as possible if you've been taken into custody.

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