If I’ve Been Drinking

Understanding the Tennessee Implied Consent Law

Whether you are aware of it or not, if you operate a vehicle on a public roadway in the State of Tennessee you are subject to Tennessee’s “implied consent” law if you are stopped and placed under arrest for suspicion of driving under the influence (DUI). If you violate the Tennessee implied consent law, your driving privileges could be suspended. To help you understand your rights and obligations under the law, a Murfreesboro criminal defense lawyer at Bennett | Michael | Hornsby explains the Tennessee implied consent law.

DUI Stop Basics 

Arrests for driving under the influence (DUI) typically increase during the holiday season. That means you are also more likely to be pulled overIf I’ve Been Drinking for a traffic stop during the holidays. While a law enforcement officer cannot conduct a traffic stop without any reason for doing so, an officer can conduct a “pretextual” stop. A pretextual stop in one in which the officer stops a motorist for a minor traffic infraction, such as a burned-out license plate light or failing to signal a lane change, when the officer really suspects that the driver is driving under the influence. During the traffic stop, the officer must develop probable cause to believe the driver is driving under the influence to be able to make a legal arrest for DUI. 

What Is a Chemical Breath Test?

If you are placed under arrest for DUI, you will be transported to the station or jail where you will be asked to submit to a chemical breath test. A chemical breath test requires you to blow into a tube connected to a machine that then analyzes your breath for the presence of alcohol. If alcohol is detected in the sample, a Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) number will be provided that indicates the percentage of alcohol in your blood. A BAC result of over 0.08 percent is considered above the legal limit and can be used as evidence against you in a criminal prosecution for driving under the influence. At this point, you may be wondering why you would “consent” to a breath test. That’s where the Tennessee implied consent law becomes important.

What Is the Tennessee Implied Consent Law

Governed by Tennessee Code Section 55-10-406, Tennessee’s implied consent reads, in pertinent part, as follows:

“Any person who drives a motor vehicle in this state is deemed to have given consent to a test or tests for the purpose of determining the alcoholic content of that person’s blood, a test or tests for the purpose of determining the drug content of the person’s blood, or both tests. However, no such test or tests may be administered pursuant to this section, unless conducted at the direction of a law enforcement officer having reasonable grounds to believe the person was driving while under the influence of alcohol, a drug, any other intoxicant or any combination of alcohol, drugs, or other intoxicants…”

In layman’s terms, the implied consent law means that by operating a motor vehicle in the State of Tennessee you implicitly give consent to be tested for the presence of alcohol or drugs in your system. Despite giving your implied consent, you can refuse to submit to a chemical test; however, there are consequences for refusing that include the revocation of your driving privileges. The length of the revocation depends on several factors but will be a minimum of one year and may increase as follows:

  • Two years if you have a prior conviction.
  • Two years if you were involved in an accident that caused serious bodily injury.
  • Five years if you were involved in an accident that resulted in death.

It is important to understand that a license revocation imposed for a violation of the Tennessee implied consent law is in addition to any period of license revocation that the court may impose if you are found guilty of driving under the influence.

Contact a Murfreesboro Criminal Defense Lawyer 

If you have been charged with DUI or with violating the Tennessee implied consent law, consult with an experienced Murfreesboro criminal defense lawyer at Bennett | Michael | Hornsby as soon as possible. Contact the team today by calling 615-898-1560 to schedule your free appointment.

 

Stan Bennett
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