Nashville DUI Lawyer
A lapse in judgment often leads to driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. However, a first-time DUI offender in Tennessee can face serious consequences including jail time. Whether this is your first DUI arrest or a recurring offense, a DUI attorney with quality credentials can offer you sound representation and legal advice.
Under Tennessee law, it is illegal to drive or operate a motor vehicle while intoxicated or with a blood alcohol concentration exceeding .08%. It is also possible to be charged with a DUI if you are in physical control of a motor vehicle while under the influence of marijuana, narcotic drugs, or other stimulants.
Those who have been arrested and charged with their first DUI offense in Tennessee may wonder what penalties they are facing. First DUI penalties can include:
- Jail time
- Rehabilitation Program
- 24 hours of trash pick up
- One year loss of your driver's license
Field Sobriety Tests
A Tennessee law enforcement officer may use a variety of procedures, including field sobriety testing, to determine whether a driver is impaired by alcohol or drugs. When a driver takes a field sobriety test, the police can examine his or her coherence and coordination, as well as look for signs of impairment. Consequently, you may be asked to step outside of your car if you are suspected of drunk or drugged driving in Tennessee.
While the police do not have to inform you of your right to refuse, it is important to know that you are not obligated to perform a field sobriety test, and there are no legal consequences for declining. In the event that you do refuse to submit to a breath test or other sobriety test, you could face civil penalties, as well as criminal charges if the officer has probable cause to arrest you for DUI.
Police officers tend to administer a series of field sobriety tests including the following:
- Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus Test: A driver will be instructed to watch and follow the movement of an object, such as a pen or finger, with their eyes.
- The Walk and Turn Test: A driver will be instructed to walk nine steps, heel to toe, in a straight line away from the officer without using their arms for balance, turn, and repeat walking back towards the officer.
- The One Leg Stand Test: Requires a driver to stand on one leg while raising the other leg six inches off the ground for approximately thirty seconds.
An arrest for DUI can be made if the police officer believes that you displayed signs of intoxication during a series of field tests or they have probable cause to believe that you were driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
An arresting officer may testify at your trial about your ability to complete field sobriety tests if you've been charged with DUI. A competent Nashville DUI defense attorney will have the opportunity to cross-examine the officer and possibly present evidence to refute the officer's conclusions. With professional legal assistance on your side, you can fight your DUI charges.
DUI Per Se & BAC Tests
Per se DUI laws apply to the amount of alcohol in a driver's blood. Driving with a BAC of .08% or more is generally prohibited under these laws. Per se drug DUI laws can also single out a other common drugs as well. These can include anything from marijuana, cocaine, and methamphetamine, with a specification of the prohibited amount. A per se DUI conviction is based solely on the amount of alcohol or drug content in a driver's body. This means that a per se conviction doesn't require proof that the driver was actually impaired by the substances consumed, such as a field sobriety test would.
In general, DUI per se charges can seem fairly straightforward. In this regard, you will be charged if you are above the legal limit. Nevertheless, there are still some grounds for defense. From illegally obtained evidence to forced testing, you might be able to get the results of the test thrown out as illegally seized evidence. You may even be able to challenge the accuracy of your BAC testing results, depending on a case to case basis. With the right legal representation, your DUI defense attorney can set you up for success and potentially have your charges reduced or dropped all together.