When I first read that the Tennessee State Legislature was going to require all of those convicted of first offense DUI in Tennessee to have an ignition interlock device, I thought the lobbyists for the ignition interlock companies were simply hard at work. Once the bill went into effect, I was pleased to read that those eligible for a restricted driver’s license had been expanded. I thought everyone practicing DUI defense was aware of the new law. However, it was not until I went to court and talked to several lawyers who did not know those with multiple offense DUI convictions are eligible for a restricted license.

Tennessee Code Annotated 55-10-409 was amended and went into effect on July 1,2013. The new law made all DUI offenders eligible for a restricted driver’s license with the installation of a ignition interlock device. It also allows those convicted of DUI second offense or greater to apply for a restricted license. Here is the catch~~You must have the device installed for the life of the license revocation. For example, if your license is revoked for a third offense conviction and as a result your license is spended for six years, you could be eligible for a restricted license as long as you have the device installed. 

There are some exceptions to this amended law. A conviction for vehicular assault by intoxication, vehicular homicide by intoxication, aggravated vehicular homicide or similar offense in another state precludes one from obtaining a restricted driver’s license. One other big exception is if another person is "seriously injured or killed" in the "course of conduct that resulted in" the driver’s conviction for DUI.

I will be answering some common questions about the new law here over the next several days.