Cinco de Mayo and DUI Charges in Tennessee: Celebrate Responsibly

Barnes & Fersten Law Firm

Barnes & Fersten Law Firm

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Gavel, car keys, and a shot of tequila

Cinco de Mayo is a widely celebrated holiday in the United States, known for its festive atmosphere, delicious Mexican cuisine, and plenty of margaritas. While it’s a time to enjoy with friends and family, it’s also crucial to understand the potential legal consequences of driving under the influence (DUI) during this spirited celebration. The team at Barnes & Fersten is here to offer some tips and insights to help you celebrate your Cinco de Mayo responsibly.

A Brief History of Cinco de Mayo

Cinco de Mayo, often mistaken for Mexico’s Independence Day, commemorates the Mexican Army’s unlikely victory over French forces at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862. While it is a relatively minor holiday in Mexico, Cinco de Mayo has gained significant popularity in the United States as a celebration of Mexican-American heritage and culture.

The origins of Cinco de Mayo as a popular drinking holiday in the U.S. can be traced back to the 1950s and 60s, when Mexican-American activists started promoting the holiday as a way to instill pride in their community and raise awareness of their contributions to American society. Over time, the celebration became more commercialized and increasingly focused on the consumption of Mexican food and beverages, particularly tequila and beer.

Marketing efforts by alcohol and food companies further popularized Cinco de Mayo as a drinking holiday in the U.S. These companies leveraged the festive atmosphere and the growing interest in Mexican culture to promote their products, eventually transforming Cinco de Mayo into a nationwide celebration marked by parties, parades, and of course, plenty of alcohol.

Cinco de Mayo and DUI Hotspots in Tennessee

During Cinco de Mayo, law enforcement agencies across Tennessee are on high alert for intoxicated drivers. DUI checkpoints and saturation patrols are common, meaning that the risk of arrest is significantly higher than on a typical day. To protect yourself and others, it’s vital to plan ahead and avoid driving under the influence. Here are some tips for a responsible Cinco De Mayo celebration:

  1. Designate a Sober Driver: Before the festivities begin, assign a responsible friend or family member to be the designated driver. This individual will refrain from consuming alcohol and ensure everyone gets home safely.
  2. Use Rideshare Services: Uber, Lyft, and local taxi services are convenient alternatives to driving while intoxicated. Plan ahead and save the contact information for these services on your phone.
  3. Be Aware of Your Alcohol Intake: Keep track of the number of drinks you’ve consumed, and pace yourself throughout the evening. Remember that it takes time for alcohol to leave your system, so stopping early is crucial.
  4. Host a Safe Party: If you’re hosting a Cinco de Mayo celebration, offer plenty of non-alcoholic beverage options, serve food to help slow alcohol absorption, and encourage guests to stay overnight or arrange rides home.

Understanding the Severity of DUI Penalties in Tennessee

Driving under the influence (DUI) in Tennessee carries serious consequences, with penalties escalating for repeat offenders. To emphasize the importance of responsible alcohol consumption, particularly during celebrations like Cinco de Mayo, it is crucial to be aware of the consequences associated with DUI convictions in this state. The penalties for first, second, third, and fourth offense DUIs are as follows:

First Offense DUI Penalties

  • Class A misdemeanor
  • Jail time: minimum of 48 hours up to 364 days in county jail, with the remainder served on probation
  • Fines ranging from $350 to $1,500
  • Mandatory attendance at DUI school and/or Mothers Against Drunk Driving Victim Impact Panel

Second Offense DUI Penalties

  • Class A misdemeanor
  • Minimum jail sentence of 45 days, up to 364 days
  • Fines ranging from $600 to $3,500
  • License revocation for 2 years
  • The State of Tennessee may seize your vehicle

Third Offense DUI Penalties

  • Class A misdemeanor
  • Jail time between 120 to 364 days
  • Fines ranging from $1,100 to $10,000
  • License revocation for 6 years
  • The State of Tennessee may seize your vehicle

Fourth Offense DUI Penalties

  • Class E Felony
  • Punishable by 1-2 years on probation
  • Jail time between 120 to 364 days
  • Fines ranging from $3,000 to $15,000
  • License revocation for 8 years
  • The State of Tennessee may seize your vehicle

Facing a DUI Charge in Tennessee? Contact Barnes & Fersten Today!

Despite your best intentions, you may still find yourself facing DUI charges after a Cinco de Mayo celebration. If that’s the case, you need an experienced & dedicated legal team on your side. Contact Barnes & Fersten today at 865-805-5703 or through our website to schedule a consultation and discuss your legal options. Don’t let a DUI charge overshadow your Cinco de Mayo celebrations–let our DUI attorneys guide you through the legal process and help you protect your rights and future.

Attorney At Law, Managing Partner

Brandon D. Fersten is an esteemed Knoxville attorney practicing DUIcriminal defense, and juvenile law. Known for his empathetic approach and commitment to his clients, he brings a record of favorable case outcomes including dismissals and not guilty verdicts at jury trials resulting in Brandon being recognized as one of the “Top 40 Under 40” in Criminal Defense, U.S. News’ Best Lawyers: “Ones to Watch,” and Super Lawyers’ “Rising Stars”. Brandon’s professional accolades, combined with his passion for justice, position him as a reliable criminal defense advocate in the East Tennessee legal landscape.