If you are arrested and charged with driving under the influence, or DUI, in Murfreesboro, Smyrna or La Vergne you are already facing some serious judicial and non-judicial penalties if convicted. If are asked to submit to a blood test, or other chemical test, and you refuse to take the test you could be facing additional penalties apart from those imposed if you are convicted of the underlying DUI. Whether or not you should refuse a blood test is something you should discuss with your Tennessee DUI defense attorney; however, everyone should have a basic understanding of Tennessee Implied Consent Law and the penalties for violating it.
In most DUI arrest scenarios in Rutherford County the suspect is asked to take a Blood test once the officer has established probable cause for the arrest. Tennessee allows an officer to request a blood, breath, or urine test to test for drugs and/or alcohol. A blood test looks for the presence of alcohol in your bloodstream, providing a blood alcohol concentration level (BAC). The BAC can be introduced at trial as evidence that you were under the influence and impaired at the time of the arrest. In Tennessee, it is illegal to operate a motor vehicle with a BAC of 0.08 percent or above. What many motorists do not realize is that according to Tennessee’s Implied Consent Law you have already consented to the test by virtue of the fact that you are driving on the state’s public roadways. This does not mean, however, that you cannot refuse the test. Refusing the test does come with penalties though.
Refusing a breath test is not a criminal offense, meaning you cannot go to jail for refusing. You can, however, lose your driving privileges for refusing a chemical test. For a first refusal your license will be revoked for one year. A second or third refusal will result in a two year license revocation. If you were involved in an accident that caused serious bodily injury you will lose your driving privileges for two years as well even if it was your first refusal. Likewise, an accident causing death will trigger a five years revocation for refusing a chemical test even if it was your first refusal. In addition to any period of license revocation, you will also be required to install an ignition interlock device on your vehicle for refusing if you are also convicted of DUI.
You could face criminal charges and harsher penalties (including jail time) for refusing a chemical test if, at the time of the arrest, you were driving on a revoked, suspended, or cancelled driver’s license because of a conviction for vehicular assault, vehicular homicide, aggravated vehicular homicide, or driving under the influence.
If you have been notified that you are being charged with refusing the breath test you can contest the refusal penalties; however, you only have a short period of time within which to notify the court of your intention to challenge the refusal. If you have additional questions or concerns about refusing a breath test during a DUI arrest in Tennessee, be sure to consult with an experienced Tennessee DUI defense attorney.