Frequently Asked Questions
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FAQ: Answers to Common DUI Questions
What penalties do I face for a DUI arrest?
Anyone who is convicted for driving under the influence in Tennessee will automatically have their driver’s license suspended for one year. State law imposes a minimum mandatory jail term of 48 hours, and depending on the circumstances of the incident, you could be held in jail for up to a year. The court will base your sentence on factors such as whether you have had a prior conviction for DUI or if you were involved in an accident that caused any property damage. If you are convicted, you will likely also have to attend alcohol classes, perform community service and have an ignition interlock device installed in your car.
What happens to my driver’s license in a DUI?
If you are convicted of a DUI, you will lose your driving privileges for one year. If you refuse to take a chemical test when asked to do so by an arresting officer, you will also have your license suspended. You may be able to get a restricted license to drive to and from work or school if this is your first offense. Repeat offenders are not given this option.
My license has been suspended, but I didn’t take a test for alcohol. Why is this?
When you receive your license, you are subject to an “implied consent” law, meaning that you have agreed to submit to a test or tests for the purpose of determining the alcoholic or drug content of your blood whenever requested to do so by a law enforcement officer. Violation of implied consent may cost you the privilege to drive for up to a year. It is often possible to prevent this suspension, depending how well a Murfreesboro DUI attorney is able to argue your case.
What is the “implied consent” law?
Part of being issued driving privileges with a Tennessee driver’s license is the condition that you will submit to a chemical test if you are suspected of DUI by a police officer. If you refuse this test, under Tennessee law you are in violation of this implied consent. Violation of the implied consent law can result in the loss of your license for one year or more, depending on the circumstances and the judge who hears your case.
I tested at over 0.08% blood alcohol content, but can I still avoid a conviction?
There are several approaches for challenging a DUI arrest. One of the first questions to ask is whether the police officer who pulled you over had reasonable suspicion to believe you were committing or about to commit an offense which in turn may lead to probable cause for the arrest. The Fourth Amendment to the Constitution protects you against unreasonable searches and seizures. It is also important to investigate whether your blood & breath tests were incorrectly administered, which could make it possible to invalidate the evidence against you. Each case is unique, and when you receive a consultation with your attorney you can determine the best strategy for your defense.
What about my auto insurance?
If you are convicted of a DUI in Tennessee, you will be required to obtain SR-22 insurance, which is classified as high-risk. High risk to the insurance company means that they will charge you more money on your premiums.
What will happen to my Commercial Driver’s License (CDL)?
If you are charged with a first-offense DUI, regardless of whether or not you were on or off duty at the time of your arrest, your CDL will be suspended for a period of one year. If you are charged with a second offense, you will be barred from holding a CDL for the rest of your life. Likewise, there are no restricted or hardship licenses for commercial drivers.
Do I have to submit to Field Sobriety Tests (FSTs)?
No. Though a police officer may imply otherwise, you are not required to participate in any standardized field sobriety tests, or FSTs, under Tennessee DUI law. Tests such as the horizontal gaze nystagmus, the one-leg stand, and the walk and turn tests are administered purely for the purposes of helping a police officer gain more evidence against you and are designed for failure. As such, it is recommended you politely refuse any roadside sobriety tests.
Can I represent myself in my DUI case?
While you technically can represent yourself, doing so will greatly reduce your chances of achieving a favorable outcome for your case. Unlike a traffic offense, DUI cases have much higher stakes and will expose you to major criminal penalties upon conviction – penalties which can shape your future and driving privileges. A knowledgeable DUI lawyer will understand the Tennessee laws and the strategies necessary to minimize your chances of conviction. In certain cases, an attorney may be able to negotiate to have your charges dismissed long before a trial even begins.
Why should I hire a lawyer for my DUI case?
The consequences of a DUI conviction are very serious: jail time, hefty fines, loss of your driver’s license, DUI school, probation, community service, and a criminal record. Being arrested for a DUI does not necessarily mean that you are guilty or should be convicted. A DUI case can be very complex and requires an attorney who is well-versed in defending these cases who can make a detailed investigation of the case against you and ensure that your legal rights are protected throughout the criminal process. In any criminal matter, it is always in your best interests to be represented by a competent attorney.
Contact a DUI Lawyer in Murfreesboro
Being arrested for drunk driving and facing criminal charges can be a stressful and embarrassing experience. When you need defense, come to Parkerson Santel, PLLC. An attorney from the firm will personally discuss every detail of your situation with you so that he can discover the most effective way to resolve your case. Depending on your priorities and the evidence against you, you may choose either to seek a plea bargain and a softer penalty than you would face if found guilty, or you might want to fight the case and try to have the charges dropped or going to a jury trial with the possibility of acquittal. Parkerson Santel, PLLC will advise you of the advantages of all your options, and provide you with aggressive defense when negotiating with the prosecution and representing you in court.
Contact a Murfreesboro DUI attorney for answers to all your questions regarding Tennessee drunk driving laws and how they will impact your unique case.
Contact Our Murfreesboro Attorney at Parkerson Santel, PLLC Today! (844) 402-2266