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Education Center

When are you considered to be under the influence under DUI laws in Tennessee?

If you are over the age of 21, the legal blood alcohol content level in Tennessee is .08 or higher.  If fact, this blood alcohol content level is the national DUI standard.  For motorists under the age of 21, the legal blood alcohol content level in Tennessee is .02 or higher.  If you are a commercial driver, the level is .04 if you are in a commercial vehicle.  Tougher DUI laws and penalties are possible if the alcohol level is over .20, serious bodily injury is involved, or a child under the age of 18 is in the vehicle.   

How is intoxication tested in Tennessee?

Typically, the intoxication testing consists of field sobriety tests and chemical tests.  This is reflected under Tennessee DUI laws as an appearance and demeanor DUI and a per se DUI.  Field sobriety tests usually include; horizontal gaze nystagmus, one leg stand, and walk and turn.  Other field tests may include; finger-to-nose, finger dexterity tests, Romberg test, ABC’s, counting, and other non-standard tests.  These tests are subject to challenge because they rely heavily on the assumption that the tested subject is in good physical and mental health.  Chemical tests are considered to be more accurate and act as a separate form of intoxication under Tennessee’s DUI per se laws.  Blood alcohol content is usually tested by using either blood or breath.  Though these tests are grounded in science, they are still subject to challenge.  There are still valid defenses for chemical test results.  It is unwise to assume that a blood alcohol content level is one hundred percent accurate.

What are the penalties for a DUI in Tennessee?

The direct consequences of a Tennessee conviction consist of mandatory fines, jail time, license revocation, ignition interlock devices, alcohol safety school, community service, and probation.  Besides these obvious penalties, those convicted of a DUI often feel a sense of embarrassment, loss of employment opportunities, and higher insurance premiums.  Even worse, these people are also saddled with a permanent criminal conviction that can never be erased from their record.  However if the charged is dismissed or reduced to a reckless driving, an expungement of the DUI offense would be possible.

Multiple DUI offender face greater penalties in Tennessee.

If you have been convicted of a prior DUI offense, Tennessee law will treat you as a multiple offender.  Second DUI offenders will face a mandatory 45 days in jail and third offenders will face a mandatory 120 days in jail under Tennessee DUI laws.  Fourth offenders face even stiffer penalties that result in a permanent felony conviction.  Fourth offenders must serve 150 days in jail.  In addition, the fines and costs are also greater for multiple offenders in Tennessee.  Vehicle forfeiture is also possible as well as increased insurance premiums.  Obviously, multiple offenders should take their charges more seriously.

Is it possible to defend a Tennessee Charge?

It is possible for someone accused of a Tennessee DUI charge to completely avoid a conviction.  DUI laws are very complex and the defenses are always evolving.  This is one area of the law that is best left to those who concentrate on DUI defense.  If you need help with a DUI charge, give Tennessee DUI lawyer Lee Martin a call at 345-1988.  He has over 16 years of legal experience and knows how to get results in DUI cases.