Topic: Criminal Defense

What Happens When You Get Your First DUI

Each state defines DUI differently, but driving under the influence is illegal in every state. The penalties vary and could include jail time, paying fines, seeking substance abuse education or treatment, and having your license revoked.

Here’s a quick rundown of what happens when you get your first DUI.

You’ll get arrested.

First, you’ll be arrested and booked on charges of driving under the influence of alcohol or other drugs.

You’ll be asked to appear in court.

This is when you’ll be asked to plead innocent or guilty. Hiring a DUI attorney before this court appearance is your best bet for reducing the long-term consequences of the DUI charge. Your lawyer will be familiar with the rules, legal standards and available options in your jurisdiction.

You’ll lose your license.

In every state, even first-time DUI offenders have their licenses suspended for a period of time. In Tennessee, the suspension is typically for one year. If your license is suspended, You may be able to apply for a hardship license or restricted license to drive with an ignition interlock device.

Learn more about DUI charges in our blog, What to Do if Charged with a DUI.

You’ll pay fines.

The amount you’ll pay can really add up. The fines depend on your state’s laws, whether anyone or anything was harmed, and the severity of your charges. In addition to the fines, you’ll probably also have to pay court fees.

You could be put on probation or sent to jail.

In some states, like Tennessee, a DUI comes with mandatory jail time. That ranges from 48 hours to just shy of a year. In other states, you could be put on probation and will need to follow the conditions of the probation period.

You’ll participate in an alcohol or drug treatment program.

Often called drunk driving school, these classes teach DUI prevention. The goal is to keep you and others safe by preventing you from driving under the influence in the future. You’ll most likely have to pay a fee to take the classes.

You may get an ignition interlock device.

If convicted of a DUI in Tennessee, you’ll have to install an ignition interlock device at your own expense. The device won’t let your car start until you blow into it with with no alcohol on your breath. You’ll also pay a monthly fee as long as the ignition interlock device is in your car.

Learn more about DUI laws in Tennessee.

The charge will follow you to work.

Because a DUI conviction becomes part of your criminal record, it will appear on future background checks. The DUI may prevent you from getting the job you want.

You’ll pay more for car insurance.

In most cases, a DUI conviction will translate into higher auto insurance premiums.

As you can see, your first DUI comes with hefty costs and long-term consequences. It also sets the tone for future sentences and charges if you’re charged with driving under the influence again. Hiring an experienced DUI lawyer will help you navigate through the entire process and get your life back on track. Your attorney may be able to get your charges reduced or even dismissed, depending on the details of your case.

Contact a Chattanooga DUI Lawyer

DUI charges can have an impact on your freedom, career, and future. At Speek, Webb, Turner & Newkirk, we understand how important it is to set the tone with your first DUI. Please contact us today if you need help addressing your DUI charge.

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Theft, Burglary, and Robbery in Tennessee

Knowing the differences between theft, burglary, and robbery in Tennessee will help you understand the various consequences for each charge. Though they sound similar, slight variations between theft crimes affect each crime’s associated penalties.

Here’s a quick guide to theft, burglary, and robbery in Tennessee:



If you take property or services without the owner’s consent, you’re committing theft. Tennessee law uses theft as an umbrella term that covers embezzlement, false pretenses, fraudulent conversion, larceny, and receiving stolen property.

Charges for theft depend on the value of property or services stolen. The charges can range from misdemeanor to felony. The harshest charge for theft is a Class B Felony, if the stolen items or services are valued at over $60,000. This charge comes with an 8-30 year sentence and a fine not to exceed $25,000.


Burglary is entering a dwelling, such as a home or business, without the owner’s consent or knowledge and with the intent to commit a crime. Breaking into a house and stealing its contents while the owners are sleeping, for example, is aggravated burglary.

The minimum charge for Burglary starts as a Class E Felony, if the structure was a vehicle, which carries a sentence of 1-6 years of prison and a fine of up to $3,000. If the burglary is a business, it is a Class D Felony. However, Aggravated Burglary, which includes entering a residence, can be defined as a Class C Felony.


Robbery is using violence or a threat of physical harm to steal from a victim, so it’s a combination of theft and violence. Of all the theft crimes, robbery can carry the harshest penalty, a Class A Felony, with mandatory prison time.  

The minimum charge for robbery starts as a Class C Felony, for a crime like purse snatching.

Aggravated Robbery is a Class B Felony and carries a sentence of 8-30 years. For the crime to be considered Aggravated Robbery, it must involve both a theft, and either personal injury to a victim or the use of a weapon to commit the crime. Stealing cash while holding up a store clerk with a gun is an example of Aggravated Robbery.

The third type of robbery is Especially Aggravated Robbery, which means that both a theft occurred and bodily harm was inflicted on a victim. This Class A Felony will carry 15-60 years in prison and a maximum fine of $50,000.

Facing any legal troubles involving theft charges can have damaging and far-reaching consequences. An experienced theft attorney will work hard to minimize or your charges or get them dropped altogether.

Contact a Chattanooga Defense Attorney

If you or someone you know is facing charges for a theft crime, an experienced theft attorney will be your best defense. Contact us at 423.531.2800 to set up a consultation with one of our experienced defense attorneys.

Photo by tommaso79 on iStock


Most of us are familiar with the idea of a warrant, but you may not understand the ins and outs of how arrest warrants work. You may even have an open warrant right now, which means you could be arrested at any minute, even if the warrant is years old! Knowing what to do may help you avoid being arrested or detained.

Let’s take a look at what arrest warrants are and how they work in real life.


WHAT is an arrest warrant?

An arrest warrant gives law enforcement officials the right to arrest a crime suspect.

The purpose of an arrest warrant is to bring the person suspected of committing a crime into court to be tried. In addition, a warrant helps ensure the suspect won’t continue committing the same crime or others. The warrant should also keep the individual from obstructing justice or interfering with the investigation.

Related topic: What to do When You’ve Been in a Car Accident

WHO issues a warrant?

Typically, the arrest warrant process begins when a crime is committed out of view of a police officer. A law enforcement official or prosecutor will develop a case that provides probable cause for arresting a suspect. The case will then be presented before a judge in the court of law. If probable cause has been made, the presiding judge will grant the arrest warrant.

The stronger the evidence, the quicker a warrant will be issued.

Since issuing an arrest warrant is a serious decision, most officers and prosecutors try to present solid evidence

WHEN can you be arrested?

Once the arrest warrant process is complete, law enforcement officers can arrest the suspect named on the warrant anytime, anywhere. However, almost every city in the U.S. has thousands of warrants issued at any time, leaving officers inundated with unfulfilled warrants. This is what the term outstanding warrant refers to.

Because so many warrants may be outstanding at once, police officers typically prioritize arrests by the severity of the crime. Occasionally, law enforcement officials hold warrant round-ups, like this one, in concerted efforts to arrest offenders.

Note that if a police officer sees you committing a crime, he or she can arrest you on the spot – without an arrest warrant.

WHAT should you do if there’s a warrant against you?

If you could be a suspect in a theft, murder, rape case or other crime, there may be an outstanding warrant against you. In Hamilton County, you can search the sheriff’s office for open warrants.

Once you’ve confirmed that there IS a warrant in your name, be proactive. Read the warrant information carefully to understand when and why a judge issued the warrant. Also look to see what kind of charges, misdemeanor or felony,  you could be facing.

Next, contact a criminal defense attorney. An experienced attorney will walk you through your options and smooth the process for you. For example, the lawyer may be able to arrange for you to turn yourself in or appear in court for an arraignment, without you having to go to jail.

If you are arrested before hiring an attorney, stay calm, and remember you always have the right to remain silent. Ask to speak to a lawyer before you answer any questions.

Your criminal defense attorney will explain your rights and guide you through every step of the process.

Contact a Chattanooga Defense Lawyer

If you need help addressing an arrest warrant, contact our criminal defense lawyers at Speek, Webb, Turner & Newkirk.

Contact Speek, Webb, Turner & Newkirk
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