Being arrested for a DUI in Tennessee is serious; you could lose your license, pay thousands of dollars in fines, and you may be ordered to undergo a substance abuse program. But there are some other tricky bits involved with a DUI that most people don’t know. So I wanted to make sure you could separate the facts from the fiction, in case you’re ever suspected of driving under the influence.
The Myth: You have to blow into the Breathalyzer.
The Truth: No, you don’t. Law enforcement uses a breath test to determine what your Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) is, and by agreeing to blow into it, you could potentially give them evidence against you.
The Caveat: Even if you refuse the breath test, you may still lose your license for one year. This is because of Tennessee’s Implied Consent Statute, which says that any motorist in TN has given permission to be tested (with a breath, blood or urine test) simply because they’re driving. You could win a DUI case and still lose your license if you can’t beat the Implied Consent charge.
The Myth: If you fail the breath or field sobriety test, you’ll lose your case.
The Truth: Not necessarily. Breath tests are notoriously faulty and prone to human error, and the courts in Tennessee seem to have a complicated relationship with the field tests. (In some cases, passing a field test has been all that was needed to have DUI charges dropped.)
The Caveat: Both the breath and field tests are used as evidence against you, and they do help build a strong case. So while a DUI conviction isn’t automatic, it does become more complicated if you’ve submitted to the tests.
The Myth: Your attorney can get your DUI wiped off your record.
The Truth: A DUI cannot be expunged – not by any attorney. They’re on your record permanently.
The Caveat: If your attorney can have your DUI reduced to reckless driving, that charge can be expunged.
I’ve heard a lot of stories over the years about DUIs, and the one thing I can say for certain is that you always, always want to hire a lawyer who has experience with these types of cases. The laws in Tennessee are among the strictest in the country, and working with an inexperienced lawyer can hurt your chances of having the charges dropped.
If you have questions, or are facing a DUI, give me a call. We’ll set up a time to discuss your concerns.