Understanding DUI Penalties in Tennessee
In Tennessee, drivers who are arrested for operating a vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol could face severe penalties. State penalties include minimum jail time for DUI offenders, even for those facing a first offense. Being convicted of a DUI offense can impact you for years, with many penalties applicable and in effect long after your initial arrest.
DUI conviction penalties in Tennessee include:
- Points on your license
- License suspension or revocation
- Jail time
- Required alcohol counseling
- Required community service
- Required ignition interlock device
If you have been arrested for driving impaired—with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or higher—it is important to understand your rights and legal options as soon as possible. This blog post will answer some of the most commonly asked questions about DUIs in Tennessee and provide guidance on the steps you should take if you are facing charges.
Are You Legally Required to Submit to Field Sobriety Testing?
In Tennessee, law enforcement officers may ask you to submit to field sobriety testing if they suspect that you are driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. These tests can include things like walking in a straight line, following a light with your eyes, etc. You are not legally required to perform field sobriety tests, but refusing breath or blood tests can result in separate criminal charges.
What Are Some Issues Associated With Field Sobriety Tests?
You may be wondering why field sobriety tests are no longer legally required and why the state is shifting away from using them in favor of breath and blood tests. The reason is that field sobriety tests can be inaccurate and subjective. Factors like age, weight, health conditions, medications taken, footwear used, and even weather conditions can affect the results of these tests. Furthermore, these tests are designed for failure; even sober individuals can fail them due to physical limitations or lack of coordination.
This is why it is typically recommended that you politely and respectfully decline to take field sobriety tests when asked. Additionally, if you have been accused of being under the influence based on field sobriety test results alone, you should seek legal counsel as soon as possible to discuss your options.
What Steps Should I Take After an Arrest for a DUI?
If you have been arrested for a DUI in Tennessee, it is important that you contact an experienced DUI defense attorney as soon as possible. Your attorney will be able to review any evidence against you and advise you on how best to proceed with your case to increase your odds of a successful outcome. Furthermore, they will be able to answer any questions or concerns you may have regarding the legal process ahead of you and help guide you through it every step of the way with confidence and understanding.
What Should I Do If I Am Pulled Over on Suspicion of A DUI Or Stopped At A DUI Checkpoint?
The best course of action is always cooperation with law enforcement officers when stopped on suspicion of a DUI or at a checkpoint—but this does not mean that you must answer any incriminating questions or provide any evidence against yourself beyond what is legally required by law enforcement officers (your name and identification). In fact, it is often best to remain respectfully silent.
It is important to remember that anything said during questioning may be used against you in court. Therefore, it is wise not to say anything until after consulting with an attorney regarding your rights in such situations. Remember: cooperation does not mean confession; remain silent until after consulting with an attorney regarding your specific situation!
Call Our Law Firm for Guidance After an Arrest
In conclusion, DUIs are serious offenses in Tennessee with potentially severe consequences, including jail time and hefty fines, even for first-time offenders. However, there are ways for those accused of such crimes to protect themselves from excessive punishment through careful consideration and legal advice from experienced attorneys familiar with local laws related to DUIs.
At Casey, Simmons & Bryant, PLLC, we have years of experience helping clients fight DUI charges in Tennessee. Whether you are a Tennessee resident or are from out of state but received a DUI charge in the area, we are prepared to help you through this. Contact us online to schedule an appointment with one of our Jackson or Clarksville-based DUI attorneys.