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The Laws Surrounding a DUI in Tennessee

Have you gotten a DUI in Memphis?

Unfortunately even good people make mistakes. One of the most common mistakes we see as attorneys is people making the mistake of Driving Under the Influence of alcohol and/or drugs. DUI is a misdemeanor in Tennessee; however, prosecution is very severe and determined. The Tennessee DUI laws are complicated, and it’s important to have an experienced DUI attorney who has the knowledge, training and experience to fight your arrest for DUI. DUI is the only criminal offense where the officer’s opinion that you are intoxicated can land you immediately in jail. If you’re arrested for DUI in the Memphis area, hire a DUI lawyer who knows all about the factors that can affect your blood concentration of alcohol, who understands how a breathalyzer works, and who is familiar with the body’s ability to metabolize alcohol and drugs.

Under Tennessee law, it’s illegal to drive a vehicle if your BAC (blood alcohol concentration) reaches .08% or more or if you are under the influence of alcohol or drugs. If you are under the age of 21, the legal BAC is less than .02%. If you are pulled over and the police officer believes that you are driving with a BAC level above the legal limit or if he believes you are under the influence of alcohol or drugs, you will be detained. 

The officer will ask you to perform a Standardized Field Sobriety Test, including:

  1. horizontal gaze nystagmus
  2. walk and turn
  3. one-leg stand

After you complete these tests, the officer will read you the implied consent law, and advise you that if you fail to submit to a BAC test, then your driving privileges will be revoked for one year for violation of the Tennessee Implied Consent Law. BAC is determined using either blood testing or breath testing (breathalyzer) whichever the police officer chooses (you have a right to a different test at your expense). After you do the field sobriety tests, whether or not you consent to the BAC, you will immediately arrested, taken to jail, and charged with DUI.

If this is your first DUI and you are found guilty of DUI or if you plead guilty to DUI, Tennessee law provides the following penalties for a First Offense DUI conviction:

  • Mandatory minimum forty-eight (48) hours in jail
  • 11 months 29 days suspended sentence
  • 11 months 29 days supervised probation
  • $350 fine plus court costs
  • 24 hours of community service
  • Loss of driver’s license for one year
  • Alcohol safety school
  • Ignition interlock device installed if BAC >.20

Other factors the prosecution will consider in your DUI case is whether there was an accident involved and/or injury to another party, at the time of your arrest. These can be enhancing factors that change the punishment.

The above statements really only scratch the surface as to the penalties, defenses and necessary investigation that go into each and every DUI case. We understand the complex nature of DUI law and will see to it that you get the best possible representation.

If you have been charged with DUI in the Mid-South area it is important to hire a competent, experienced DUI attorney familiar with multiple DUI resources and a variety of DUI defense strategies to use in your case. The Chiozza Law Firm has been practicing DUI defense law for over twenty (20) years, and are committed to protecting your rights at all times, relentlessly fighting to win your case in court. Call The Chiozza Law Firm for a free initial consultation or contact us online to speak to a DUI lawyer today.

Posted by Brian Chiozza at 9:30 AM
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