Holiday Travel Increases to Near Pre-Pandemic Levels
If you’ve been to the airport or out on the road recently, you’ve likely noticed an uptick in travelers. With record security lines at airports and stop-and-go traffic nearly everywhere you go, it is clear that Americans are getting back out in the skies and on the roads. This Thanksgiving, AAA estimated that approximately 54.6 million people will travel at least 50 miles or more from home, and it is expected that of those, nearly 49 million will travel by car.
According to AAA, this holiday season is expected to be one of the top three busiest years since 2000. Though car travel numbers are still a bit lower than they were in 2019 (2.5% lower, per AAA), it seems clear that many Americans are ready to return to their normal holiday travel plans.
However, with increased travel comes an increased risk of accidents and DUI-related arrests and accidents. Below we provide a refresher on Tennessee’s DUI laws, what you should do if you are stopped on suspicion of a DUI, what to do if you are arrested, and steps you can take to avoid either of these things happening this holiday season.
TN DUI Laws
In Tennessee, being stopped with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08 or greater can result in a DUI arrest and conviction. Additionally, Tennessee law requires all drivers to submit to a breath or blood test when requested. Failure to consent to a blood or breath test can result in subsequent charges and penalties.
That said, drivers are not required to submit to field sobriety testing (FST). It is typically recommended that you avoid taking any FSTs, as these tests have been found to be problematic and highly subjective. Additionally, you must remember that if a driver does take FSTs, these can be used against them by the prosecution.
If you are stopped on suspicion of a DUI, you should:
- Follow the law enforcement offer’s instructions while remaining respectfully silent
- Submit to blood or breath testing
- Decline field sobriety testing
- Call an experienced DUI attorney as soon as possible
Tennessee is known for having some of the harshest DUI laws and sentencing in the country. It is important to remember that TN has minimum jail time sentencing requirements for DUI convictions (among other penalties), even for first-offense DUI convictions.
What to Do If You Are Arrested for a DUI in TN
If you are arrested for a DUI, it is critical that you reach out to an experienced DUI defense lawyer like ours at Casey, Simmons & Bryant, PLLC. While you cannot always avoid a DUI conviction (there are some cases in which being found guilty is unavoidable), you may have alternative sentencing options to explore, which may help you reduce the impact a DUI conviction has on your life.
Alternative DUI sentencing options that may be available to you include:
- Community Corrections Programs
- Judicial Diversion
Preventing DUI Charges
Each winter, law enforcement agencies across the country increase their efforts to stop DUIs during this time of year, and you may notice more sobriety checkpoints popping up in cities, towns, and highways. As such, the rate of DUI arrests increases dramatically, and prosecutors pursue these cases doggedly. This holiday season, all drivers need to consider the increased risks associated with DUIs and take measures to avoid a DUI arrest or conviction, especially if you plan to travel or will be attending holiday parties and events where alcohol will be present.
Tips for avoiding DUI charges include:
- If you are driving, avoid imbibing in any alcohol or substance that can impair your ability to operate your vehicle safely
- If you plan to drink, designate someone as the sober driver, or DD
- If you are named the DD, commit to 100% sobriety
- If you have been drinking and need to get home, ask someone else whom you trust and who has not been drinking to drive you and your vehicle home
- Download ride-sharing or taxi-cab apps on your phone so that you can call yourself a ride home
- Pre-schedule or pre-plan a ride home if you are going somewhere and you know you will be drinking
- Keep your cell phone charged or bring a charger with you so that you do not run out of power when you need to call a cab or friend for a ride home
Additionally, if you notice someone is impaired and attempting to drive home, do your best to stop them by taking their keys, offering them a ride home yourself (if you are sober and it is safe to do so), or by helping them call a taxi.
For more information on DUI laws and the impact a conviction can have on your life, review these past blog posts:
- What to Do After a DUI Arrest
- Alternative Sentencing for DUIs in TN
- DUI FAQs: Can a DUI Affect College Admissions Decisions?
Send us a message online to schedule a consultation with one of our DUI attorneys. Casey, Simmons & Bryant, PLLC is always here to help.