In Tennessee, over 8,000 people were arrested on charges of driving under the influence (DUI) during the year 2014. There are a number of tests a law enforcement officer may administer if you are suspected of drunk driving, including field sobriety tests and a breathalyzer test. Up until the moment of your arrest, however, they are generally considered voluntary. That said, even if you refuse to take the field sobriety tests, it is unlikely an officer will allow you to simply drive away.
When the officer arrests you, implied consent laws will apply, and you must take a breathalyzer test if asked to do so. Continue reading to learn more about Tennessee’s implied consent laws.
Refusing a Breathalyzer Test
Every state, including Tennessee, has implied consent laws, which compel drivers to submit to a blood test or a breath test if arrested for a DUI or another related charge. In Tennessee, a violation of implied consent is treated as a civil offense, though there are some cases in which it may be considered a Class A Misdemeanor. Even if you are not convicted of a DUI as a result of your arrest, you will likely face penalties for refusing a breath or blood test. For a first-time offense, your license may be suspended for up to one year. However, if you were also involved in an accident that resulted in injuries or death, the penalties will increase.
Below are the penalties you may face:
- If you have a previous DUI conviction, your license may be suspended for up to two years.
- If the incident also resulted in an accident that caused serious bodily injuries to others, your license may be suspended for up to two years.
- If the incident also involved fatalities, your license may be suspended for up to five years.
In some cases, it may be possible for someone with a suspended license to obtain a restricted license to commute to work or school. If you are granted a restricted license during this time, you may also be required to install an interlock ignition device and attend a court-ordered substance abuse program.
Reach Out to Our Criminal Defense Team Today!
If you were arrested for a DUI, do not hold off on seeking skilled legal representation to handle your case. At Patton | Pittman Attorneys, our criminal defense team is backed by more than 100 years of experience and will work diligently to ensure the best possible results for your DUI case.
Call our law office today at (931) 361-4477 to set up an initial consultation with a member of our team.