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Chattanooga graduates: it's time to have fun and be careful

Graduation ceremonies for undergraduate students at the University of Tennessee Chattanooga are this Saturday, which means a weekend of fun and celebration is right ahead. That also means that some graduates, friends and family members will find themselves confronted with red and blue flashing lights, a roadside sobriety test, and in some cases, an arrest for DUI.

While an arrest is undoubtedly a disappointing and difficult way to start post-graduation life, it does not mean that all of your dreams and accomplishments are wiped out. Speak with an attorney experienced in DUI defense so that you can learn more about your legal options for avoiding some of Tennessee's harshest punishments and getting your life back on track.

Some drivers who are pulled over and asked by a police officer to submit to a blood test to determine blood alcohol content (BAC) will decline. Those who do so should know what lies ahead for them.

A first refusal to submit to a blood alcohol test will result in revocation of your driver's license for a full year. A second offense will mean a two-year license revocation.

Some of those who are pulled over and then tested will then be arrested on suspicion of drunk driving. They will also be staring at some potentially harsh punishments. The Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security says on its website that a first drunk driving offense can result in incarceration for a minimum of 48 hours and a maximum of 11 months and 29 days behind bars.

In addition, a first violation can also mean a year's driver's license revocation, a fine of up to $1,500, required enrollment in a drug and alcohol program and mandated installation of an ignition interlock device in your vehicle (at your expense).

Please consider using a designated driver this weekend and at all times when you are going to make alcohol part of a celebration.

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