Defense attorney explains Tenn. Secretary of State’s ‘bare minimum’ DUI sentence

Published: Nov. 10, 2022 at 6:04 PM CST|Updated: Nov. 10, 2022 at 6:15 PM CST
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - We’re getting a first look at the night Secretary of State Tre Hargett was arrested for driving under the influence this past summer.

The entire incident was caught on camera.

Hargett was arrested back in June after leaving the Bonnaroo music festival while intoxicated in a state-issued car. The body camera footage shows Tullahoma Police officers pulling Hargett over into a driveway.

One officer administers a field sobriety test and Hargett appears to have a difficult time with three separate tests.

Hargett was eventually cuffed and taken to the police station where he consented to a blood alcohol test.

According to his case file, Hargett’s blood alcohol was .137 that night, which is nearly twice the state limit.

Hargett was ordered to serve 48 hours behind bars, pay a $350 fine, and have his license restricted for one year, requiring him to only drive his personal car with an interlock device or car breathalyzer.

Memphis defense attorney Claiborne Ferguson says that sentence is pretty typical.

“That is the bare minimum sentence that he could have received for this. He could have received up to a year in jail, so taking the minimum is probably in his best interest,” he said.

Ferguson says most first DUI offenses, like the one involving Secretary Hargett, end with a plea deal.

However, if convicted a second time, the defendant could face a minimum of 45 days in jail.

After Hargett’s sentencing last month, he told members of the media that driving under the influence is wrong and something he will never do again.

Action News 5 reached out to him again today for a comment, and we have not heard back.

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