Posts Tagged Tennessee DUI laws
In accordance with a Tennessee state law that was passed in 2011, the Knox County government provided the Tennessee Department of Safety with a list of people who had failed to pay their litigation taxes and fines (often referred to as “court costs”) within one year after their criminal cases were resolved. As a result, nearly 1,300 motorists who faced a criminal offense in Knox County in 2012, including traffic offenses, received a letter earlier this month informing them that their driver licenses would be revoked for failing to timely pay their court costs. Unfortunately, as the Knox News Sentinel reported on January 25, 2013, officials recently discovered that many people should not have been included on the list submitted to the Department of Safety. According to the Knox News Sentinel, over 500 people never owed court costs or had timely completed their obligations to the court. Even though the Department of Safety has been notified of the error, the consequences of this mishap remain unclear. For more information about this developing story, read Clerical Error May Cause Wrongful Revocation of Driver’s License by our firm’s managing partner Steve Oberman.
It is important to note that Driving on a Revoked License is a criminal offense, and an officer may immediately arrest anyone found driving with a revoked license. Moreover, a person who drives while his or her license is revoked as the result of a DUI conviction will be made to serve at least 48 hours in jail if convicted of Driving on a Revoked License. Please contact Steve and Sara for further assistance if you have a question about your driver’s license. You may reach our attorneys by calling (865) 249-7200.
The Knoxville Police Department has announced plans for a “New Year Holiday Enforcement Campaign.” The increased enforcement will focus on motorists who are speeding, following too closely or driving recklessly, as well as those who show signs of impaired driving (driving under the influence). More information about the KPD holiday enforcement plans can be found by clicking here. The increased patrols will begin at 4 p.m. on New Year’s Eve and conclude at midnight on New Year’s Day.
Should you or a loved one be arrested for DUI (driving under the influence) or related charges, the attorneys at Oberman & Rice are available to assist you. You may contact Steve and Sara by calling 865-249-7200. You may also wish to visit www.tndui.com for more information about the offense of driving under the influence in Tennessee.
Posted by in Court Procedures, DUI Fourth Offense, DUI Penalties, DUI Second Offense, DUI Third Offense, Forfeiture, Hiring a Tennessee DUI Attorney, Tennessee DUI Consequences, Tennessee DUI Information, Tennessee DUI Laws, Tennessee DUI Penalties, Tennessee Traffic Violations on October 13th, 2012
The Tennessee Department of Safety, through law enforcement officers, may seize the vehicle of anyone suspected of multiple DUIs. A vehicle may also be seized from anyone found to be driving on a revoked, cancelled, or suspended license if the reason for the revoked, cancelled, or suspended license was a DUI conviction. In other words, a person convicted of a DUI risks vehicle seizure if he or she is found to be driving without a valid license or is suspected of DUI, regardless of whether there is a conviction.
When a citizen’s property is seized, the government, which is typically be represented by the Tennessee Department of Safety in cases involving vehicle and asset forfeiture, must follow the rules. Multiple state laws, court cases, and administrative rules govern the forfeiture process. Furthermore, constitutional protections against unreasonable searches and seizures and against excessive fines may apply to forfeiture proceedings just as they do criminal proceedings.
The Department of Safety rules and regulations are complicated and often intimidating. Nevertheless, failure to take action within strict time limits may result in the loss of property rights. If you or someone you know has had property seized by law enforcement, it is important to contact a Tennessee criminal attorney immediately. You may contact Steve and Sara by calling (865) 249-7200. You may also wish to review our website for additional information about forfeitures.
[Source: T.C.A. Section 55-10-401 et seq., Williams v. State Dept. of Safety, 854 S.W.2d 102 (Tenn. Ct. App. 1993), Stuart v. State Dept. of Safety, 963 S.W.2d 28 (Tenn. 1998)]
A First Offense DUI in Tennessee is always a Misdemeanor (sentence of less than 1 year in jail) if no accidents, injuries, or deaths result from the offense. However, all DUI convictions require defendants to serve at least 48 hours in jail, which is a harsher punishment than a defendant would receive for most other Misdemeanors.
Even though Second and Third Offense DUIs are charged as misdemeanors, the mandatory minimum sentences are 45 and 120 days respectively for Second and Third Offenses. A Fourth or subsequent DUI Offense is a Felony Offense (sentence of 1 year or more in jail) and, upon conviction, requires that a defendant serve 150 days in jail. These mandatory jail sentences are significantly harsher than mandatory minimum sentences for nearly every other Misdemeanor Offense.
Jail time is one of many penalties that are unique to DUI. Please visit TNDUI.COM for more details about the penalties for DUI offenses in Tennessee. A Tennessee DUI attorney can help you avoid the harshest punishment. Please contact Knoxville DUI attorneys Steve and Sara at (865) 249-7200 if you have any DUI-related questions.
[Source: T.C.A. 55-10-403]
Yes. In Tennessee, it is possible to be convicted of a DUI while sitting in a parked vehicle with or without the engine running. According to Tennessee DUI law, a state prosecutor need only prove that an impaired person was “in physical control” of an “automobile or motor driven vehicle” in order to obtain a conviction. Court decisions in Tennessee have confirmed that a person, in a parked car, with the keys in the ignition, may be convicted of a DUI.
However, the DUI law in Tennessee does not assure that the state prosecutor will succeed in such a case. A person is not ‘automatically’ guilty when found in a vehicle with the keys in the ignition. A Tennessee DUI attorney should investigate the location of arrest, actions of law enforcement, and any proof of impairment in order to find additional weaknesses in the prosecutor’s case.
Regardless of a defendant’s location and circumstances, everyone accused of a DUI should consult with a DUI attorney as soon as possible. If you have questions about the facts of a case, Steve and Sara are ready to help you. You may reach all of our attorneys by calling (865) 249-7200.
[Source: T.C.A. 55-10-401]
At least two Tennessee laws have made it more difficult to defend persons accused of driving under the influence and, in another change, the DUI penalty when accompanied by someone under the age of 18 has increased.
The 2012 Tennessee Legislature amended Tennessee Code Annotated § 55-10-406, also known as the Implied Consent Law. This law applies when an officer requests the suspect to submit to chemical testing (blood, breath, or urine). The amendment clarified that an individual may be compelled to submit to a chemical testing if the testing is mandated by:
- A Court Order;
- A search warrant; or
- When a law enforcement officer has probable cause to believe that a driver of a motor vehicle involved in an accident resulting in the injury or death of another is guilty of vehicular homicide, aggravated vehicular homicide, or DUI.
The Legislature also amended Tennessee Code Annotated § 55-10-402 to clarify that no defense to DUI exists when a person is under the influence of an intoxicant even if they are entitled to lawfully use the substance/intoxicant.
Moreover, the penalty for a person convicted of DUI who was accompanied by a person under the age of 18 was enhanced. It now requires a mandatory minimum period of 30 days in jail and a mandatory minimum fine of $1,000.00. This law, which amended Tennessee Code Annotated § 55-10-403, states that the incarceration enhancement must be served in addition to, and at the conclusion of, any jail time and fine otherwise imposed for the underlying DUI offense. Likewise, the fine enhancement must be in addition to any fine imposed by law as a result of the Tennessee DUI conviction.
Laws such as these emphasize the importance of hiring a Tennessee lawyer who is educated about the newest laws and prepared to aggressively defend you. Too many people are wrongfully accused of driving under the influence and related charges. If you would like further information about these laws, or your case, you may contact the Oberman and Rice Law Firm at (865) 249-7200.
In his March 7, 2012 post, Steve Oberman posed the question, “Would you want your blood taken by someone not certified to do so?” He was referring to Tennessee Senate Bill 2787/House Bill 2858, which eliminates the requirement that a phlebotomist permitted to draw blood from a Tennessee DUI suspect be certified or nationally registered. I am sorry to report that this bill passed, becoming Public Chapter No. 0666, and became effective on April 4, 2012.
This new law allows blood to be drawn by a “trained phlebotomist who is operating under a hospital protocol, has completed phlebotomy training through an educational entity providing such training, or has been properly trained by a current or former employer to draw blood.” The website www.phlebotomycertificationguide.com explains the typical certification process for phlebotomists and provides training course length than ranges from 4 to 24 months. As discussed in Steve’s previous post, Tennessee law does not specify the amount of training required. Certainly a very minimal amount of training could qualify one under this new law considering the fact that the person need only receive training from “a current or former employer.”
The lawyers at Oberman & Rice continue to monitor pending legislation that impacts the criminally accused, paying particular attention to those involving Tennessee DUI cases. Should you have any questions about a pending Tennessee DUI law or issue, you may contact Steve, Sara, or Nate by calling (865) 249-7200. You may also wish to review our website for additional information about Tennessee DUI Laws by clicking here.