What Defines A DUI In Tennessee?
Tennessee prohibits any person from driving or being in actual physical control of an automobile or other motor driven vehicle while:
- under the influence of any intoxicant, marijuana, controlled substance, controlled substance analog, drug, substance affecting the central nervous system, or combination
- the alcohol concentration in the person’s blood or breath is eight-hundredths of one percent (.08) or (Having an extremely high BAC, 2.0 or above, can result in enhanced penalties)
- operating a commercial vehicle with blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .04% or
What Generally Happens When Someone Is Pulled Over On Suspicion Of Being DUI In Tennessee?
From the very first moment you come into contact with a law enforcement officer, their job is to collect evidence against you. The very second that they meet you, they are watching your body movement, analyzing your eyes, looking for slurred speech, and looking for an odor of alcohol on your breath. If they feel that you are under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance, they will then ask you to submit to a standardized field sobriety tests (SFST).
There are several different tests that these officers have been trained in. Depending upon how a person does on the field sobriety tests, the officer will then ask them to submit to either a breath or a blood test. Depending upon the outcome, the person will be arrested and charged or they’ll be released.
What Happens If Someone Has Refused A Blood Or Breath Test?
Driving in Tennessee means that you have legally given your consent to be tested to determine the alcohol or drug content of your blood. This test must be administered at the request of a law enforcement officer who has reasonable grounds to believe you have been driving under the influence of an intoxicant or drug. If you refuse, the test will not be given, but the court notifies the Department of Safety and your driver’s license will be suspended for 12 months. For a first offense, you can lose your license for one year and for a second offense, for two years. In cases involving crashes, it can even be suspended for up to five years.
What Are The Penalties For A DUI Conviction In Tennessee?
A first-offense DUI conviction in Tennessee generally results in a fine ($350-$1,500), suspension of driver’s license for one year, and a minimum of 48 hours in jail. If the driver had a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .20% or greater, the minimum jail time is seven days. If the offender had minor in the vehicle at the time of the offense, the minimum sentence is increased by 30 days. The maximum sentence for a first DUI conviction is 11 months and 29 days.
The penalties continue to increase for successive DUI convictions. A second conviction carries a minimum of 45 days in jail and your driver’s license is suspended for two years. A third conviction for DUI has 120 days in jail as a minimum, and a loss of license for six years. On the fourth offense, it goes from a misdemeanor to a felony and carries a minimum sentence of one year in jail.
Additional Information On DUI Charges In Tennessee
In Tennessee, if you’ve been convicted of a prior driving related alcohol offense, you no longer have the option to refuse to give a blood or a breath test. If you refuse to submit the blood can be taken forcefully after police secure a search warrant.
For more information on DUI Cases In The State Of Tennessee, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (615) 546-0048 today.
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