It's important to note that even if you don't take the Breathalyzer Test (BAC) measures blood alcohol content)), you can still be found guilty of Driving Under the Influence. The BAC test and its results or lack thereof is only one criteria considered by the court in determining one's guilt or innocence as its relates to DUIs. Also, the refusal to submit to BAC results in the revocation of one's Driver's License for 1 year.
In determining your guilt or innocence, the court looks to Field Sobriety Test Results, the Officer's observation of you at the time of the arrest, accident report (if accident was involved), the DUI Video recorded at the time of arrest, incriminating statements made to police officer, witness statements, and other factors unique to your case.
Be aware that DUI Offenses involving Accidents often result in Civil Liability which could also cause your Driver's License to be suspended due to nonpayment of a Civil Judgment. Some probation conditions could also involve the payment of restitution to those Victims whose property was damaged or who suffered injuries and had resulting medical expenses.
The Court can also require upon the conviction of a DUI, the installment and monthly rental fees associated with an Ignition Interlock Device. The fees associated with the Device are at the expense of the defendant throughout the entire probationary period.
Automobiles are subject to seizure and forfeiture at time of arrest for a second or subsequent DUI offense under TCA 55-10-403(k). The State will file a Notice of Seizure thereby putting you on notice of their intent to seize your automobile. You may want to consult with an Attorney regarding legal representation at this hearing.
Those with a valid Driver's License can apply through the Court to receive a Restricted Driver's License to drive places like work, school, church, etc., after a DUI conviction.
Criminal penaties for Driving Under the Influence are as follows:
1st Offense DUI (A Misdemeanor): $350-$1,500 fine, a minimum of 48 hours in jail and a maximum of 11 months and 29 days in jail, Driver's License revoked for 1 year, probation not to exceed 11 months and 29 days, 3 days community service, 24 hours (3 days @ 8 hours) litter pickup on TN Highways, attend Alcohol Safety School, pay a monthly supervision fee to Probation Company, and other conditions as required by the Court. If BAC 0.20% or higher, then a minimum 7 days in jail.
If you are convicted of a second or subsequent DUI within 10 years of the first DUI, you are facing enhanced punishment under Tennessee's DUI Law. The State must put you on notice of their intent to go forward with enhanced punishment by supplying you with a copy (sometimes certified) of your first DUI conviction date and the jurisdiction. Should there be a discrepancy with the date, conviction, etc., your Attorney will have the necessary paperwork to assert a defense to enhanced punishment.
2nd Offense DUI (A Misdemeanor): $600-$3,500 fine, a minimum 45 days in jail and a maximum 11 months and 29 days in jail, Driver's License revoked 2 years, probation not to exceed 11 months and 29 days, Alcohol Rehabilitation, pay a monthly supervision fee to Probation Company, and other conditions as required by the Court.
3rd Offense DUI (A Misdemeanor): $1,100-$10,000 fine, a minimum 120 days in jail and a maximum 11 months and 29 days in jail, Driver's License revoked 6-10 years, probation not to exceed 11 months and 29 days, Alcohol Rehabilitation, pay a monthly supervision fee to Probation Company, and other conditions as required by the Court.
4th Offense DUI (E Felony): $3,000-$15,000 fine, a minimum 150 days in jail and a jail sentence of 1 to 6 years, Driver's License revoked 8 years, probation not to exceed 6 years, conditions are required by the Court.
Your Constitutional Rights
You have a right to fight all DUI Charges with a Preliminary Hearing, Motion Hearing, and/or Trial. Your Attorney will plan a vigorous defense against your Accusers (i.e., State, Police Officer, Witnesses). The following are some factors used by Defense Attorneys in fighting DUI Charges against their Clients:
The Police Officer's experience in handling DUI cases.
The Officers years of experience on the Police Force.
The Officer's observations at time of arrest.
The procurement of the blood sample by a qualified person (licensed medical professional or one acting under the direction of a qualified person).
The processing of a blood sample by a qualified person.
The chain of custody of a blood sample.
The calibration and maintenance of the Breathalyzer Machine.
The administration of the BAC test.
The Officer's 20 minute observation after the arrest.
Review of the DUI Video to counter any issues presented by the Officer to the Court.
The location of the vehicle (on or off the roadway/highway).
Whether vehicle is operable.
The location of the driver.
Medical illnesses suffered by driver.
Medications prescribed to driver.
The location of the car keys.
Review of the Field Sobriety Test Results.
Should you find yourself facing criminal charges, contact an experienced and reliable Law Office, Tawanda Williams Law Office, PLLC at 901-206-8200.
Caveat: The information provided in this post is for informational purposes only, please do not use as a guide for your DUI Defense. For updated information and possible revised Tennessee DUI law, please seek the advice of a Licensed Attorney in Tennessee and follow their guidance on how best to handle your particular case.