When people consider possible penalties for DUI, most probably think of fines, jail time or license suspension. However, many people in Tennessee may also be aware of the community service that was a mandatory consequence for a drunk driving conviction. This penalty served the two-fold purpose of providing the person convicted with an alternative to jail while fulfilling a need in the community.
Recently, however, the state legislature voted to toughen DUI laws by removing the community service option. In the past, those convicted of drunk driving spent 24 hours in jail and 24 hours collecting trash from along the roadways. Not only did this save Tennessee counties money by providing this cleanup without charge, but it reduced the amount of time a convicted driver spent behind bars.
After the passage of the new law, however, those convicted of drunk driving must serve their entire sentence in jail. Now, thousands of miles of roads are beginning to pile up with litter as the number of those sentenced to community service declines. Knox County is calling on volunteers and enlisting the help of other agencies to provide trash pickup.
While the accumulation of trash in Tennessee is certainly a negative consequence of the new law, a more crucial concern involves the consequences to those who are convicted of drunk driving. Now that drivers are at risk of facing stricter penalties for DUI convictions, it may be even more important to have experienced legal counsel following an arrest. Having an attorney to stand up for one's rights increases the chances of avoiding the negative consequences of a conviction.
Source: wate.com, "DUI offenders no longer required to pick up roadside trash in Tennessee", Don Dare, May 22, 2017