Driving Under The Influence
“Douglass & Runger – Aggressive DUI Defense Attorneys”
Memphis DUI Lawyer
Like many other states, Tennessee takes a strong stance against drivers who operate vehicles while they are impaired by alcohol. A driving under the influence (DUI) charge, therefore, is a serious matter. Jail sanctions and fines are just the beginning: there can be periods of license suspensions, administrative costs, increased insurance premiums, and other incidental costs to a DUI conviction.
Have you been charged in Tennessee with DUI? You need aggressive and resourceful criminal defense counsel to help protect your freedom and your assets. Contact Douglass & Runger, Attorneys at Law, for quick and effective legal assistance.
What is Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol?
As its name implies, “driving under the influence of alcohol” is a crime that prohibits drivers from operating motor vehicles at a time when they are too impaired by alcohol to drive their vehicles safely. In general, there are two ways to prove an individual has violated Tennessee’s DUI law:
- If a person has an alcohol concentration of 0.08 or greater, the person is presumed to be too impaired to drive his or her vehicle. Under this “per se” law, the government does not need to prove any actual impairment in order to obtain a conviction. An alcohol concentration is most often proven through a valid breath test or blood test performed shortly after the person is pulled over.
- If no alcohol concentration test is available, the government is still able to convict a person of DUI by showing actual impairment. In doing so, the government will attempt to demonstrate that the driver had alcohol in his or her system and that he or she was thereby incapable of safely operating the vehicle. Keep in mind that under this method, the government does not have to prove any particular alcohol concentration; it simply has to establish that the driver was (i) incapable of safely operating a vehicle by pointing out driving infractions made by the driver before he or she was pulled over, (ii) whether the driver wrecked his or her car, and/or (iii) the driver’s performance on standardized field sobriety tests like the “walk and turn” and “one leg stand” test.
An aggressive and effective method of fighting a DUI charge involves challenging the reason why the police pulled the driver over in the first place. If the police had no reasonable suspicion to justify the initial traffic stop, or if the police had no reasonable suspicion to detain the driver for a DUI investigation, then evidence of impairment may be excluded from a trial and the driver’s DUI charge will most likely be dismissed.
Penalties for a DUI Conviction
The specific penalties a person will face for a DUI charge will depend on a number of factors including:
- The person’s specific alcohol concentration (if testing was completed);
- Whether an accident occurred or a death occurred (other charges like vehicular homicide may be applicable);
- If the person refused to submit to breath or blood testing;
- If there were young children in the person’s car (child endangerment charges may be made in such a case); and/or
- The number of prior convictions for DUI or similar charges that the individual has.
A person convicted of a DUI offense – even a first-time DUI offense – can expect to face serious penalties that can include:
- Mandatory periods of incarceration in jail;
- Mandatory fines along with costs and fees;
- Periods of license suspension and/or revocation;
- Required installation of an ignition interlock device; and/or
- Other criminal and/or administrative penalties.