DUI charges are scary. We all know the impact they can have on your freedom, finances, and relationships. You could face jail time, lose your job, and suffer a terrible blow to your reputation.
These charges also affect your ability to drive, which indirectly affects your freedom, finances, and social life, too.
This article takes a closer look at Tennessee’s DUI law and penalties the state can place on your license.
Overview of DUI Laws in Tennessee
Driving under the influence is a serious offense in Tennessee. It is illegal to operate a vehicle with a blood alcohol content (BAC) level of 0.08% or higher.
Drivers under 21 can be charged with DUI when they have a BAC level of just 0.02% or higher, and commercial drivers can be arrested with a BAC level of 0.04% or higher.
Penalties for a DUI conviction range from fines and probation to license suspension, mandatory jail time, and even vehicle seizures.
Tennessee can suspend your driver’s license for a DUI conviction.
The suspension’s length depends on various factors, such as:
- Your blood alcohol content (BAC)
- Your number of previous convictions
- Whether any aggravating circumstances were involved, such as an accident or injury
First-time offenders can expect a suspension of between one and two years, while repeat offenders may face longer suspensions or even a permanent revocation of their driving privileges.
A DUI conviction could also force you to use a restricted driver's license in Tennessee. These licenses allow you to drive only for specific purposes, such as going to work, school, or medical appointments.
The restriction includes an ignition interlock device. The authorities install these gadgets onto your car, and you must blow into the device. If the device detects alcohol on your breath, the vehicle will not start.
If you are caught driving outside of restricted purposes, you could face more severe consequences such as a revoked or suspended license.
How to Avoid a DUI and Protect Your License
Drinking and driving accidents are one of the leading causes of fatal crashes on our roads.
There are a multitude of ways to avoid a DUI, such as drinking non-alcoholic beverages or having a designated driver.
Alternatively, you can utilize ride-sharing apps like Uber or Lyft, take public transportation, or arrange for a sober ride home with a friend or relative.
Preparing for an Administrative Hearing After a DUI Charge in Tennessee
Remember, you always have the right to defend yourself against any criminal allegation, and you can do so at an administrative hearing.
To prepare for this hearing:
- Gather any witness statements.
- Review the evidence against you.
- Collect documents that support your case.
- Familiarize yourself with the procedure of the hearing, such as when to speak, how to introduce evidence, and so on.
It's also important to hire an experienced attorney who can guide you through this process and offer valuable advice along the way.
Defenses Against DUI Allegations
Defending against DUI allegations is a challenge, but there are several effective strategies you can use.
One such strategy is challenging the accuracy of the field sobriety tests. These tests are notoriously unreliable and subjective, and questioning their validity could cast doubt on the officer's assessment.
Another effective defense is to dispute the legality of the traffic stop itself. If the officer lacked probable cause to pull you over, any evidence obtained during the stop could be suppressed and removed from consideration.
You can also use evidence to prove you were not drunk at the time. Perhaps you were experiencing a medical condition that mirrors drunkenness. In some cases, people simply have eccentric personalities, and others frequently assume this person is drunk or high.
Patton & Pittman Attorneys is here to help you challenge DUI allegations in court. Don’t let the authorities convince you that you have no case. Reach out to us today by calling (931) 361-4477 or contacting us online.