In proposed 2022 legislation introduced by Tennessee Senator Stevens and Tennessee Representative Farmer, the sheriff or chief administrative officer of a local jail or workhouse would be authorized to use alternative facilities for the incarceration of an offender convicted of driving under the influence regardless of whether the local jail or workhouse has space available. HB2432 and SB2584 is a major change from current law, but makes a lot of sense given that most DUI offenders are non-violent.
The Tennessee Code defines an alternative facility as including, “… but are not limited to, vacant schools or office buildings or any other building or structure that would be suitable for housing DUI offenders for short periods of time on an as-needed basis and licensed through the department of mental health and substance abuse services for the state.” Additionally, a court may approve a private appropriately licensed substance abuse treatment program as an “alternative facility.” See T.C.A. § 55-10-402 (f)(2). Moreover, first offender defendants in certain counties have the option of performing “… two hundred (200) hours of public service work in a supervised public service program in lieu of the minimum period of confinement… .” See T.C.A. §55-10-402 (g).
Decades ago, it was common for offenders in certain counties to be able to serve their sentence at a local National Guard Amory on weekends. This law would take a financial and space burden off local jails and allow them to focus their efforts on prisoners who need the extra supervision.
Updates on this proposal will be posted as they become available.
About the Author: Steven Oberman has been licensed in Tennessee since 1980, and successfully defended over 2,500 DUI defendants. Steve was the first lawyer in Tennessee to be Board Certified as a DUI Defense Specialist by the NCDD. Among the many honors bestowed upon him, Steve has served as Dean of the National College for DUI Defense, Inc. (NCDD) and currently serves as chair of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers DUI Committee.
He is the author of DUI: The Crime & Consequences in Tennessee, updated annually since 1991 (Thomson-West), and co-author with Lawrence Taylor of the national treatise, Drunk Driving Defense, 9th edition (Wolters Kluwer/Aspen). Steve has served as an adjunct professor at the University of Tennessee Law School since 1993 and has received a number of prestigious awards for his faculty contributions. He is a popular international speaker, having spoken at legal seminars in 30 states, the District of Columbia and six foreign countries. After being named a Fulbright Scholar, Steve was honored to teach as an Adjunct Professor at the University of Latvia Law School in the capital city of Riga, Latvia during the Spring Semester of 2019. If you would like to contact the author, please visit his website at www.tndui.com.