Can I be arrested for DUI if I’m not actually driving the car? Yes. Under Tennessee DUI law it is a crime to drive or be in physical control of an automobile. “Physical control” is not the same as drive. It has a much broader definition. Essentially, if the facts show that the vehicle was capable of being immediately placed in motion to become a menace to the public and its driver, the physical control element is met and the driver will be arrested. This can include simply sitting in the car with the keys in your pocket. Should I submit to a blood alcohol content (BAC) test? Probably not, but I’m not going to say never. If you are absolutely, positively sure you’ll pass the test, go ahead. If you have any doubts, though, probably best to refuse. What happens if I do or don’t submit? If you submit and pass (which means a blood alcohol content of less than .08%) your chances of getting out of a DUI improve greatly, although you could still be charged. If your blood is .08% or greater you will be in per se violation, which means you’ll be charged regardless of whether you were actually under the influence. If you refuse to submit you are in violation of the implied consent law and your driver’s license will be suspended for at least one year, longer depending on the facts or if you have prior convictions. This is not a criminal conviction but rather a forfeiture. A person who refuses to submit will lose their license even if the DUI charge is later dismissed or they are found not guilty. In certain instances, your blood can be taken without your consent and be admitted in court. Furthermore, BAC results are admissible from blood taken during medical care. How can I fight my DUI case? There could be several ways. A Memphis DUI defense attorney will want to see if the police had reasonable suspicion to initiate a traffic stop, and that there was probable cause to arrest you for DUI. Additionally, the State is going to have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you were under the influence of an intoxicant or drug. This is not easy because of the subjective nature of so many DUI cases. Whether the State has strong enough evidence must be scrutinized closely. What is the penalty for a DUI conviction in Tennessee? First offenders will be sentenced to 11 months and 29 days, with a minimum of 48 hours in jail. Jail time could be longer depending on the facts. There is a minimum fine of $350. Second offenders must serve a minimum 45 days in jail and a minimum $600 fine. Third offenses and higher carry stiffer penalties. There are also related consequences such as court costs, higher insurance premiums, loss of license, and having to install an ignition interlock device. If my driver’s license is suspended can I get a restricted license? Yes. You may drive only for work, school, church, probation meetings, or court-ordered duties. A Memphis DUI lawyer can assist you in getting your restricted license. Can I get a DUI conviction expunged from my record? No. Tennessee law specifically prohibits DUI convictions, even first offenses, from being removed from the defendant’s record. Even if you have no prior criminal record of any sort, a DUI conviction will be on there forever. Patrick Stegall is a Memphis DUI attorney. For help with your DUI case, please contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
CategoryFiled under: Breathalyzer|DUI Penalties|DUI/DWI|Elements of DUI in Tennessee|Field Sobriety Tests|Implied Consent