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Tennessee Updates Interlock Policy and DUI Penalties

Tennessee has had an interlock requirement for many years, and like many states, the Tennessee legislature consistently reviews the interlock policy and DUI penalties to ensure they are meeting public safety goals. While interlock devices are used as a deterrent for DUI offenders, they also help to keep the streets safer for everyone, offenders and non-offenders alike, by preventing drunk driving incidents.

As of January 1, 2023, Tennessee has made some changes to their interlock program and to DUI penalties. We will be explaining the impact this will have on offenders. However, if any Tennessee offenders are unsure about requirements, please contact Intoxalock. Our state specialists can answer any questions regarding this update

Tennessee Changes Ignition Interlock Device Requirements and Penalties

In the past, Tennessee punished offenders with a license revocation of minimum one year and an interlock requirement left up to the judge’s discretion. The new policy requires mandatory interlock devices for offenders who have specific circumstances surrounding their offense, including:

  • Their offense caused property damage
  • A minor was present at the time of the offense
  • The offender’s driver’s license has been suspended in the past for a similar violation
  • The offender has a past conviction for DUI, reckless driving, reckless endangerment, or vehicular assault or homicide, involving alcohol

The new policy requires offenders to submit their proof of ignition interlock device installation within 10 days of their release on bail. Intoxalock provides a certificate of installation at their installation appointment to all our customers for this purpose, which fulfills this requirement. This new policy change makes ignition interlock devices mandatory. If the court does not require the defendant to have an ignition interlock installed, they must include a written finding on why requiring one would not be in the best interest of justice and public safety within the court order.

Typically, offenders are required to use the interlock device for at least 365 days. Offenders who install their interlock device within 10 days of the court order will receive credit from the date of their installation that counts toward their 365 day requirement. There is a waiver option for nonresidents and offenders who are unable to produce enough breath for a sample. Nonresidents can apply for a waiver in their home state, but if they move to Tennessee during the IID term period, they will have to comply with the law in TN.

Tennessee Changes to Compliance-Based Interlock Policy

All court-mandated ignition interlock devices are monitored by state authorities. In Tennessee, the Tennessee Highway Patrol monitors interlock devices. All data on failed tests, removals, and attempts to tamper with the device are reported to the monitoring authority.

With new legislation, Tennessee is implementing a compliance-based policy. This means that violations can cause an offender’s interlock term to be extended. The new policy states that any offenders who are found to be tampering with, circumventing, or removing their interlock device risk having their interlock usage term extended by 120 days.

If an offender fails to report that their interlock has broken, does not take it for repairs, or misses a calibration, monitoring, or inspection appointment, this will restart the clock on their interlock term. It will restart, and they will be required to serve an additional 365 days from that date.

Intoxalock Can Help Tennessee Offenders Regain Driving Privileges

Intoxalock is dedicated to keeping the roads safe for everyone, and to providing offenders an opportunity to safely and legally regain their driving privileges. Intoxalock has 100 locations throughout the state, making it easy to find one near you. In fact, 91% of Intoxalock customers are able to find a location within 15 minutes of their home. Our state specialists are available 24/7 at 833-623-0300, or you can fill out the form to get started. A representative will then call you to discuss interlock device options.

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