Posts Tagged Tennessee DUI Penalties

Consequences of a TN DUI Conviction – Part 3

In this week’s podcast, host and Knoxville DUI attorney Steve Oberman presents Part 3 of a podcast series explaining some of the Collateral Consequences that result from a Tennessee DUI conviction.   The purpose of this series is to summarize some, but certainly not all, of the lesser known consequences one faces if convicted of DUI.  This episode focuses on the potential effects of a Tennessee Driving Under the Influence (DUI) in Tennessee on professional licenses and a person’s internet profile.

Our Knoxville, TN DUI lawyers are also happy to answer any questions you may have about these and other issues surrounding a Tennessee DUI charge and the resulting penalties.  Feel free to call our office at (865) 249-7200.

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Additional information about the Collateral Consequences of a Tennessee DUI conviction, as well as the Tennessee DUI penalties mandated by law can be found by visiting the website of Knoxville DUI attorneys, Oberman & Rice, at www.tndui.com and www.duiknoxville.com.  Part 1 of this series, Collateral Consequences of a TN DUI Conviction – Part 1, can also be heard by clicking here. Part 2 of this series, Collateral Consequences of a TN DUI Conviction – Part 2, can also be heard by clicking here.

You can also watch a video version of this podcast on YouTube.

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Don’t Drink and Scoot

On July 1, 2019, several new laws and modifications of current Tennessee DUI laws were implemented.  The first we will discuss (with more updates to follow on this blog) refers to all of the scooters that have become common place in most major downtown areas in Tennessee.  In downtown Knoxville, for example, you cannot walk a block without seeing these scooters available for rent.  In case you are not familiar with these scooters, one such company called Zagster has released these scooters for rent and places many of them around busy areas hoping for people passing by to rent one to travel (or scoot) around the city.  It is hard pressed to not see at least one person zooming along the street or sidewalk on one of these devices. 

The new law, mentioned above, aims to eliminate the problem of impaired people renting these scooters by making such an action punishable under Tennessee’s DUI laws.  As this recent article on WKRN states, these electric scooters will be considered motor-driven vehicles.  This language is important because under Tennessee’s DUI laws, the operator must be in physical control of a motor-driven vehicle to be arrested for a DUI.  As we have discussed previously on this blog (and at our website- www.tndui.com), if convicted of a DUI you face some of the following punishments: mandatory jail time (up to 48 hours on a First Offense); fines; required attendance of a Drug Education Course and a loss of your Tennessee driving privilege. 

Please remember that over this holiday weekend if you decide to enjoy the festivities in an area that allows for these scooters to be rented, please do not drink and scoot.  You may find yourself being placed under arrest for a DUI!  If you’ve been charged with Driving Under the Influence in Tennessee while on one of these scooters, operating a boat or while driving in your vehicle, please contact the Oberman and Rice Law Firm at (865) 249-7200.  We are available 24/7.

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Tennessee Legislature Addresses “Self Driving” Cars

If you have watched the news lately, you have probably heard of the automobile giant called Tesla. Tesla is famous for its work toward developing automated cars that operate without the need for a human driver. As one could imagine, vehicles driven without a person in total control behind the wheel could be potentially dangerous—there is always a risk of some sort of malfunction with the automated system or the driver being unresponsive to the warning messages from the automated system. One such example of this issue has already arisen in Ohio. In fact, even Tesla itself released a video warning of the potential dangers of the self-driven vehicles. States have started to take notice of these self-driving vehicles and some States have even started passing laws aimed at these types of automobiles.

For example, a new law that took affect in Tennessee on July 6, 2017, sets out requirements for operating an “Automated Driving System” or “ADS”. The “Automated Vehicles Act” as created by the Tennessee Legislature in Public Chapter No. 474 sets forth certain requirements in order for such ADS enabled vehicles to lawfully operate on Tennessee roads. This statute aims to lay out restrictions on ADS vehicles as well as determine liabilities for the ADS operated vehicles.

Interestingly, if the requirements for an ADS set forth by the statute are not followed, it is a Class A Misdemeanor for a person to knowingly operate the vehicle without a human driver in the driver’s seat, punishable up to 11 month and 29 days in jail. As more options become available for ADS vehicles, those who are interested in utilizing the technology must be vigilant to ensure their vehicles comply with the statutory requirements.

Anyone charged with a traffic offense or arrested for DUI, or another related charge, should immediately contact a Tennessee DUI lawyer familiar with Tennessee DUI laws.  For more information about the crime of Driving Under the Influence (DUI) or about traffic offenses, SteveSara, or AZ are available 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. The DUI Defense attorneys at Oberman & Rice are available to speak with you 24/7.

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Increased Jail Time for Some DUI Offenders in Tennessee

Beginning in July 2016, drunk drivers who have prior DUI convictions will face more severe penalties.[1] The Tennessee General Assembly has enacted a new law that amends Tennessee Code Annotated §55-10-402 and enhances the way Tennessee punishes offenders with multiple DUI convictions. These changes will apply only to those who commit an offense on or after July 1, 2016.

Previously, a conviction for a 4th offense or higher DUI was a Class E Felony. A Class E Felony carries a punishment of 1-6 years.[2] Starting on July 1, while a 4th or 5th offense conviction for DUI will remain a Class E Felony, a person who commits a 6th or subsequent offense will be sentenced as a Class C Felon. A Class C Felony is punishable by 3-15 years in the penitentiary.[3]

Although the mandatory minimum jail sentence for DUI offenders who have six or more convictions will not change, the maximum sentence increases significantly. People who are convicted of a 4th or subsequent offense must serve a mandatory minimum of 150 days in jail. However, based on statistics from 2015 in Tennessee, Class E Felons serve an average of 1.56 years in jail, while Class C Felons serve an average of 4.13 years in jail.[4] This change to the law should significantly increase the amount of incarceration for those who have six or more convictions for DUI.

About the Author: Steven Oberman has been licensed in Tennessee since 1980, and successfully defended over 2,500 DUI defendants.  Among the many honors bestowed upon him, Steve served as Dean of the National College for DUI Defense, Inc. (NCDD) and currently serves as chair of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers DUI Committee.  Steve was the first lawyer in Tennessee to be Board Certified as a DUI Defense Specialist by the NCDD.

He is the author of DUI: The Crime & Consequences in Tennessee, updated annually since 1991 (Thomson-West), and co-author with Lawrence Taylor of the national treatise, Drunk Driving Defense, 7th edition (Wolters Kluwer/Aspen).  Steve has served as an adjunct professor at the University of Tennessee Law School since 1993 and has received a number of prestigious awards for his faculty contributions.  He is a popular international speaker, having spoken at legal seminars in 30 states, the District of Columbia and three foreign countries.

The author would like to thank his associate attorney, Anna Rickels, for her research and contributions to this article.

If you would like to contact the author, please visit: http://www.tndui.com

[1] http://share.tn.gov/sos/acts/109/pub/pc0876.pdf

[2] Tennessee Code Annotated §40-35-111(b)(5)

[3] Tennessee Code Annotated §40-35-111(b)(3)

[4] Sentencing Practices in Tennessee (April 2015) http://www.tncourts.gov/sites/default/files/docs/criminal_sentencing_stats_cy2014_draft_v2.pdf

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Update: Tennessee Driver License Reinstatement and Driving History

The Tennessee Department of Safety (TDOS) has updated their website to allow for individuals seeking a driver’s license reinstatement (e.g. following a revocation for a Tennessee DUI conviction) instant access to check the status of their driver’s license. This website will also allow for: Adding an Emergency Contact; Changing your Address; and the Ability to View any Reinstatement Requirements. Please keep in mind that you must have the following information in order to begin the process of accessing your driver’s license status: Tennessee Driver License/ID Number; Last Name; Last four (4) Digits of your Social Security Number; and Date of Birth. If you are unable to have access to the Internet, you may always call the TDOS at 1-866-903-7357. Tennessee drivers who have their license suspended or revoked should take advantage of this resource.

The Tennessee Department of Safety also provides resources for someone to obtain a copy of a Tennessee Driver Record/Driving History/ Motor Vehicle Record (or Tennessee MVR) online. You may also visit a full service Driver Service Center for a copy of your MVR (a list of these centers may be found here.) The following information on obtaining a copy of one’s driving record comes from the TDOS’s website:

You will need the following information to request your MVR online:

  • Name
  • Date of Birth
  • TN Driver’s License Number
  • Credit Card/Check card Payment of $7.00

 

If you choose to go to a Driver Service Center for a copy of your MVR you will need the following:

  • Name
  • Date of Birth
  • TN Driver’s License Number
  • $5.00 Payment

 

If you want someone else to obtain a copy of your MVR for you, you must submit a notarized statement authorizing that person to obtain the MVR.

You may also request a copy of your MVR by mail by mailing your request to:

                                    Tennessee Department of Safety & Homeland Security

                                    MVR Request

                                    PO BOX 945

                                    Nashville, Tennessee 37202

Please take note there is a $5.00 charge for a copy of a three-year driving record.   You may either send a cashier’s check or money order made payable to Tennessee Department of Homeland Security. Please include the Driver’s Name; Birth Date; and TN Driver’s License Number. It will take about two weeks from the mailing date to receive the record. The federal Driver Privacy Protection Act (DPPA) prohibits the release of personal identifying information from driver license and vehicle registration records unless an individual submits a form requesting their records be open.

The Oberman & Rice law firm often deal with issues surrounding Tennessee driver licenses, relating to Tennessee DUI offenses, as well as other traffic issues.  Should you have any legal issues surrounding your Tennessee driver license, our attorneys,  Steve and Sara are be available to speak with you and can be reached by calling 865-249-7200.

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Where may I obtain a Tennessee Restricted Driver’s License?

In order to apply for a Tennessee Restricted Driver’s License, it is important to go to the correct Tennessee Department of Safety location. Not every Driver Service Center in Tennessee is authorized to issue a Restricted Driver’s License. For example, Knoxville has several Driver Service Center locations but only one (located at **Strawberry Plains) can process the appropriate paperwork to obtain a Restricted Driver’s License and has the ability to issue a temporary Restricted Driver’s License, valid for 90 days.

A helpful online tool is provided by the Department of Safety in order to save you time and effort when attempting to find which Driver Service Center location will issue a Restricted Driver’s License. This link will allow for you to search and determine which Driver Service Center in your area can issue a Restricted Driver’s License or fulfill other needs you may have (i.e.: Renew a Driver’s License, Take a Road Driving Test, etc.).

If you are in need of a Tennessee Restricted Driver’s License, many important steps and procedures are required. The attorneys at Oberman & Rice can assist you in the process of obtaining a Restricted Driver’s License. For more information regarding a Restricted Driver’s License and the requirements for obtaining a Restricted Driver’s License the lawyers at Oberman & Rice are available by calling (865) 249-7200. You may also wish to visit www.tndui.com for more information about a Restricted Driver’s License.

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Tennessee Motor Vehicle Driving Record (MVR) Now Available Online

Tennessee motorists can now obtain a Tennessee Driving History online.  As discussed in a previous post, Tennessee Driver License Reinstatement and Driving History, Tennesseeans were previously limited to obtaining this information by either submitting a request by mail or submitting a request in person at a Tennessee Driver Service Center.

A Tennessee licensee can obtain this Motor Vehicle Report (MVR), also often referred to as a Tennessee Driving History, by visiting https://apps.tn.gov/pmvr/.  The report costs $7, which may be paid by credit card or check card; however, a prepaid card is not an acceptable payment option.  The motorist will further need to provide the Driver name, date of birth, and Tennessee driver license number.

The Oberman & Rice law firm often deal with issues surrounding Tennessee driver licenses, relating to Tennessee DUI offenses, as well as other traffic issues.  Should you have any legal issues surrounding your Tennessee driver license, our attorneys,  Steve and Sara are be available to speak with you and can be reached by calling 865-249-7200.

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Ignition Interlock Device Requirements Under the New Tennessee DUI Laws

Below is a brief outline of some of the most frequently asked questions regarding ignition interlock device requirements as a result of the new Tennessee DUI Laws that became effective July 1, 2013 and apply to those arrested for a Tennessee DUI on or after that date.

Is an ignition interlock device (IID) now required with every DUI conviction?

The new Tennessee Law provisions do not require an IID for every DUI offender who applies for a restricted driver’s license.

What are the IID requirements with a DUI 1st offense conviction?

The use of an IID is not required with every Tennessee DUI conviction.  Rather, one of the prerequisites listed below must be present to require the use of an IID.  For instance, an IID is not required if a person refuses a chemical test (blood, breath, or urine test) and is convicted of DUI unless certain other factors are present.  Other factors may prevent the mandatory IID requirement. Accordingly, it is important to carefully review the details of your case with your Tennessee DUI attorney.

When obtaining a restricted driver’s license following a conviction for DUI 1st offense, motorists are required to operate only vehicles equipped with an ignition interlock device when:

  1. The person’s blood or breath alcohol concentration is .08% or higher;
  2. The person’s blood or breath alcohol concentration contains a combination of any amount of alcohol and marijuana, a controlled substance, controlled substance analogue, drug, or any substance affecting the central nervous system;
  3. The person was accompanied by a person under the age of 18 at the time of the DUI offense;
  4. The person was involved in a traffic accident for which notice to a law enforcement officer was required, and the accident was the proximate cause of the person’s intoxication; or
  5. The person violated the implied consent law and has a prior conviction or juvenile delinquency for a violation that occurred within five years of the instant implied consent violation for:
    1. Implied consent under Tennessee Code Annotated § 55-10-406;
    2. Underage driving while impaired under Tennessee Code Annotated § 55-10-415;
    3. The open container law under Tennessee Code Annotated § 55-10-416; or
    4. Reckless driving under Tennessee Code Annotated § 55-10-205, if the charged offense was Tennessee Code Annotated § 55-10-401.

It should be noted that even if not required by statute, judges have discretion to order the use of an ignition interlock device upon application for any restricted Tennessee driver’s license. A motorist may also request the court to order an IID rather than have her permitted driving restricted to certain days, times and locations. However, unless ordered of the court’s own accord, motorists are not eligible to apply for ignition interlock fund assistance and are responsible for all costs associated with the installation and maintenance of the device.

What are the IID requirements with a DUI 2nd or greater offense conviction?

If a person has a prior conviction within the past 10 years for DUI or Adult DWI in Tennessee or a similar offense in another jurisdiction, the court may order a restricted driver’s license.  However, the court must order that the person operate only a vehicle equipped with an ignition interlock device.

Does a violation of the Implied Consent law require the use of an IID with a restricted driver’s license?

A refusal under the Implied Consent law does not automatically trigger the requirement for an IID.  In fact, no ignition interlock device is required unless the person (1) is found to have violated the Tennessee Implied Consent law; (2) is convicted of the related-DUI offense (assuming it is a first offense); and (3) has one of the qualifying prior convictions as noted above.

Anyone arrested for DUI (driving under the influence), or another related charge, should immediately contact a Tennessee DUI Attorney familiar with Tennessee DUI laws.  For more information about the crime of DUI or about Tennessee ignition interlock device requirements, Steve and Sara are available 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.

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Tennessee Driver License Reinstatement and Driving History

We are often asked how to obtain information from the Tennessee Department of Safety (TDOS) for driver license reinstatement (e.g. following a revocation for a Tennessee DUI conviction).  While one could certainly call the TDOS at 1-866-903-7357, the easier course of action is to check the status of a Tennessee driver license by visiting the TDOS website.  This is a wonderful resource for Tennessee residents whose driver license is revoked or suspended, however the following information is required to process a request: ; Last Name; Last Four (4)  Digits of your Social Security Number; and Date of Birth.

A related question is: how do I obtain a copy of a Tennessee Driver Record/Driving History/Motor Vehicle Record (also referred to as Tennessee MVR) online?   Tennessee does provide an option to obtain this report online.  A person may also obtain a copy of their MVR by visiting a full service Driver Service Center, a list of which can be viewed by clicking here.  The following information on obtaining a copy of one’s driving record comes from the Tennessee Department of Safety website:

You will need the following when requesting your record:

  • Name
  • Date of Birth
  • Driver License Number

If you want someone else to obtain a copy of your MVR for you, you must submit a notarized statement authorizing that person to obtain the record.

You may also obtain a copy of your driver record (also called a motor vehicle record or MVR) by mailing your request to:

Tennessee Department of Safety
MVR Request
PO BOX 945
Nashville, TN 37202

There is a $5.00 charge for a copy of a three-year driver record. A cashier’s check or money order should be made payable to the Tennessee Department of Safety. If mailing, allow two weeks from the mailing date to receive the driver record. The federal Driver Privacy Protection Act (DPPA) prohibits the release of personal identifying information from driver license and vehicle registration records unless an individual submits a form requesting their records be open.

The Oberman & Rice law firm often deal with issues surrounding Tennessee driver licenses, relating to Tennessee DUI offenses, as well as other traffic issues.  Should you have any legal issues surrounding your Tennessee driver license, our attorneys,  Steve and Sara are be available to speak with you and can be reached by calling 865-249-7200.

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Will I be able to rent a car after a DUI conviction?

Many people are unaware of the many collateral consequences of a DUI conviction.  One generally understood consequence of a conviction for Driving Under the Influence, First Offense, in Tennessee is the loss of a driver license for one year.  Even though a restricted driver license may be obtained for many people convicted of a DUI, First Offense, a restricted driver license will typically not suffice to rent a motor vehicle.  Most, if not all, national rental agencies require a renter to provide a valid driver license.  Therefore, the possibility of renting a car will not be an option for at least a year after a conviction for Driving Under the Influence in Tennessee.

Even after the Tennessee driver license reinstatement of someone convicted of DUI, the ability to rent a car may be limited due to insurance concerns.  Individual rental companies may respond differently to a prior DUI conviction.  Therefore, the best course of action would be to contact a sales representative before a rental car is reserved online and relied upon for transportation.  Higher rates, travel restrictions, and special insurance may be required to rent a vehicle, so it makes sense to shop around and compare policies and rates.

Please click here for additional information about the collateral consequences (other consequences) of a DUI conviction.  An experienced Tennessee Defense Lawyer should be consulted about all of the possible consequences of a Driving Under the Influence conviction.  Steve and Sara are available to answer questions about the consequences of a Tennessee DUI and may be reached by calling 865-249-7200.

 

 

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DUI Vehicle Forfeiture: What you should know if you receive a “Notice of Seizure”

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)]

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DUI: Misdemeanor or Felony?

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]

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The New Implied Consent Violation Restricted Driver’s License

As discussed in a prior post, The Implied Consent Violation Restricted Driver’s License, we are often asked: Can a motorist, whose license is revoked due to an implied consent violation, receive a restricted TN driver’s license without geographic restrictions if he installs an ignition interlock device? Thanks to a new Tennessee DUI law, effective July 1, 2012, some motorist will be able to obtain a restricted driver’s license without geographic restrictions in this instance.  Tennessee law now permits a judge to order an ignition interlock device for the Tennessee Implied Consent Violation restricted driver’s license.  It must be noted, however, that the judge further has the discretion to require both an ignition interlock device and geographic restrictions.

If you would like more information about Tennessee DUI Laws, the Tennessee Implied Consent Violation (also known as a chemical test refusal), or a Tennessee Restricted Driver’s License, feel free to contact our office at (865) 249-7200. You may also wish to visit our websites to learn more about driving under the influence in Tennessee, or about the Oberman & Rice law firm.

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Tennessee Laws Get Tougher

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:

  1. A Court Order;
  2. A search warrant; or
  3. 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.

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Consequences of a TN DUI Conviction – Part 2

In this week’s podcast, host and Knoxville DUI attorney Steve Oberman presents Part 2 of a podcast series explaining some of the Collateral Consequences that result from a Tennessee DUI conviction.   The purpose of this series is to summarize some, but certainly not all, of the lesser known consequences one faces if convicted of DUI.  This episode focuses on the potential effects of a Tennessee Driving Under the Influence (DUI) in Tennessee on parental rights and immigration status.

Our Knoxville, TN DUI lawyers are also happy to answer any questions you may have about these and other issues surrounding a Tennessee DUI charge and the resulting penalties.  Feel free to call our office at (865) 249-7200.  For issues surrounding parental rights and the status of non-citizens, our attorneys can also refer you to Tennessee attorneys knowledgeable in these areas of law.

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Additional information about the Collateral Consequences of a Tennessee DUI conviction, as well as the Tennessee DUI penalties mandated by law can be found by visiting the website of Knoxville DUI attorneys, Oberman & Rice, at www.tndui.com and www.duiknoxville.com.  Part 1 of this series, Collateral Consequences of a TN DUI Conviction – Part 1, can also be heard by clicking here.

You can also watch a video version of this podcast on YouTube.

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How long can a person go to jail for a Tennessee DUI?

The number of prior DUI convictions in a defendant’s past significantly affects the amount of jail time a defendant may expect to serve if he or she is convicted of a Tennessee DUI.  It is important to note that the prior convictions need not be from Tennessee.  Even out of state DUI convictions can be used against a person accused of committing a Tennessee DUI offense.

Tennessee DUI law requires minimum amounts of jail time to be served for all DUI convictions.  If a defendant is convicted of a DUI, the judge MUST sentence that defendant to the minimum amount of time established by Tennessee DUI law, ranging from 48 hours in jail up to 150 days in jail, depending upon the offense.  On the other hand, the judge may sentence a defendant to more than the mandatory minimum amount of time – this is more likely to occur with multiple convictions.  Please visit our website for a full list of penalties for DUI convictions.

TN DUI lawyers know that any time in jail causes a major disruption in a person’s life, which is why anyone charged with DUI in Tennessee should consult with a Tennessee DUI attorney as soon as possible.  If you have questions about your Tennessee DUI charge and associated penalties, our lawyers are available to assist you.  Sara, Steve, or Nate will be happy to speak with you at (865) 249-7200.  

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Consequences of a TN DUI Conviction – Part 1

Citizens charged with Driving Under the Influence (DUI) in Tennessee often understand the Tennessee DUI penalties, such as large fines, mandatory jail time, roadside litter pick-up, and loss of driver’s license.  However, few are aware of the collateral consequences associated with a Tennessee DUI conviction.  Collateral consequences are problems and difficulties experienced as a result of a DUI conviction that are separate from the penalties faced in court.  Those convicted of DUI find themselves dealing with the consequences long after all fines are paid, probation has expired, and their driver’s license has been reinstated.

In this week’s podcast, host and Knoxville DUI attorney Steve Oberman presents Part 1 of a podcast series explaining some of the Collateral Consequences that result from a Tennessee DUI conviction.   The purpose of this series is to summarize some, but certainly not all, of the lesser known consequences one faces if convicted of DUI. Our Knoxville, TN DUI lawyers are also happy to answer any questions you may have about these and other issues surrounding a Tennessee DUI charge and the resulting penalties.  Feel free to call our office at (865) 249-7200.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Additional information about the Collateral Consequences of a Tennessee DUI conviction, as well as the Tennessee DUI penalties mandated by law can be found by visiting the website of Knoxville DUI attorneys, Oberman & Rice, at www.tndui.com and www.duiknoxville.com.

You can also watch a video version of this podcast on YouTube.

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Expungement of a Tennessee DUI

Can a Tennessee DUI conviction be expunged from my criminal record?

If you are convicted of a Tennessee DUI offense, the conviction cannot be erased from your criminal record. Only a dismissed charge may be expunged. Any conviction in Tennessee remains on a person’s criminal record forever unless a pardon is issued by the governor after a careful review by the Board of Probation and Parole.

Accordingly, if a person pleads guilty to a DUI in Tennessee, that person will not be eligible to have the charge dismissed or expunged.  However, a person charged with a DUI may not need to plead guilty to a DUI.  This is one reason why it is important to have an experienced Tennessee DUI attorney review your case before entering into any plea agreement that results in a criminal conviction.

[Sources: Tenn. Code Ann. § 55-10-403; § 40-35-313; § 40-27-102]

 


 

 

 

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The Implied Consent Violation Restricted Driver’s License

Most motorists who have violated the Tennessee Implied Consent law by refusing to submit to a blood, breath or urine test during a Tennessee DUI arrest, will be eligible to obtain a Restricted Tennessee Driver’s License.  The Restricted TN Driver’s License for the Implied Consent Violation offender must include both day and time restrictions, as well as geographic restrictions.  The permitted geographic restrictions include locations associated with:

  • Employment;
  • College or university;
  • A court-ordered alcohol program;
  • Ignition interlock monitoring appointments;
  • Meetings with probation officer;
  • Regular place of worship;
  • Scheduled litter pick-up; and
  • Outpatient alcohol/drug treatment program.

It is important to note that not all of these locations will apply to every motorist. A judge in the county in which the offense occurred, or in which the motorist resides, must approve and sign an Order for Restricted Driver License, detailing the permitted locations.  Even then, the locations, days and times are subject to final approval by the Tennessee Department of Safety.

In light of the recent changes involving Tennessee Ignition Interlock Device laws, we are often asked: Can a motorist, whose license is revoked due to an implied consent violation, receive a restricted TN driver’s license without geographic restrictions if he installs an ignition interlock device? Unfortunately, the answer is no.  When the changes were implemented permitting licenses to be issued without restrictions (as long as the motorist installed an ignition interlock device), the new law did not allow the issuance of a license without geographic restrictions for licenses revoked for violation of the implied consent law.

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The Overlooked Costs of a Tennessee DUI Charge

Most people do not recognize the varied costs associated with a DUI charge.  Although the exact cost is difficult to determine without knowing the facts of your case, the costs you may encounter (excluding attorney fees) include, but are not limited to:

  • Investigation expenses (scene photos, witness interviews, etc.)
  • Police communication tapes (911) and transcription
  • Police videotapes and transcription
  • Field sobriety test expert fees
  • Chemical test (blood, breath or urine) expert fees
  • Technology fees (e.g. to play the police video in court)
  • Fees/court costs associated with conviction (e.g. $40.00 ignition interlock fee for all DUI convictions; $250.00 chemical test fee; $100.00 assessment etc.)
  • Mandatory minimum fines ($350 for a DUI 1st Offense; $600.00 for a DUI 2nd Offense; $1,100.00 for a DUI 3rd Offense; and $3,000.00 for a DUI 4th or subsequent Offense)
  • Increased insurance premiums for a minimum of 3 to 5 years
  • Lost income from lost job opportunities
  • Costs related to probation (litter pick-up fees; probation fees; DUI school; Ignition interlock device; SCRAM device; alcohol treatment)
  • Driver’s license reinstatement fees
  • Costs associated for alternative transportation if you are not permitted a restricted driver’s license

As you can see, depending upon the facts of your case and whether you are ultimately convicted of DUI, a DUI arrest can be quite costly.

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When Will Your Prior DUI Conviction Be Used Against You?

Understanding when and if a prior conviction for Driving Under the Influence can be used against you to increase the penalties of a second or subsequent DUI conviction can be complicated and confusing.  In Tennessee, this determination has been further complicated by a recent change in the law (Tennessee Code Annotated § 55-10-403(a)(3)), which became effective July 1, 2010 and is discussed in more detail below.

To determine when a person is classified as a Tennessee DUI multiple offender, we first must answer the question: how far back does Tennessee look for prior convictions?  This time period is also often referred to as the “look back” period.  Typically, this “look back” period is 10 years, but depending upon the circumstances of the case, this period may be extended up to 20 years. Knoxville DUI attorneys Steve Oberman and Sara Compher-Rice are available to answer your questions about the Tennessee “look back” period and how it may affect your Tennessee DUI case.

The next question is how (or from what dates) is the “look back” period calculated?  This calculation is impacted by  the new Tennessee DUI law.  When examining the initial 10-year period, the calculation should be made as follows:

Arrests prior to July 1, 2010: Compute 10 years from the date of conviction for the current offense to the date of conviction of the previous DUI offense.

Arrests on or after July 1, 2010: Compute 10 years from the date of the current offense (current arrest date) to the date of the previous offense (previous arrest date).

In other words, the calculation has changed from conviction date to conviction date to now being determined from DUI arrest date to DUI arrest date.

Should you have any additional questions about the offense of DUI in Tennessee or the associated penalties, please visit the Oberman & Rice websites at www.tndui.com and www.duiknoxville.comSteve and Sara may also be reached by calling (865) 249-7200.

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Driver’s License Reinstatement Following DUI Conviction

One consequence of Driving Under the Influence (DUI) and related convictions, such as Implied Consent Violation, is the loss of the person’s Tennessee driver’s license.  Depending upon the facts of the case, the Tennessee driver’s license revocation can range from one year to more than ten years.  Once the revocation period expires, the person is not allowed to simply start driving. Rather, specific steps must be taken to have one’s driver’s license properly reinstated with the Tennessee Department of Safety.

Failure to reinstate your Tennessee driver’s license could result in your arrest if you drive while unlicensed.  In fact, a conviction for Driving on a Revoked, Suspended or Canceled Driver’s License could result in a mandatory jail sentence if your license had been revoked, suspended, or canceled as a result of a DUI conviction.  Eligibility for driver’s license reinstatement is not a defense to this crime.

To find out when your Tennessee driver’s license is eligible for reinstatement and to how to accomplish this goal, you may click here for detailed information relating to reinstating your Tennessee driving privilege. To obtain this information, you should be prepared to provide your Tennessee driver’s license/ID number.

If you have any additional questions about Tennessee driver’s license consequences of a Driving Under the Influence (DUI) conviction, Steve Oberman and Sara Compher-Rice are available to speak with you and answer your questions.  Steve and Sara can be reached by calling (865) 249-7200.  You may also find additional information about the crime and consequences of DUI on our firm’s websites: www.tndui.com and www.duiknoxville.com.

 

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New TN Ignition Interlock Device Laws–Part 3

Part 3: Discretionary Tennessee Ignition Interlock Device

In addition to the mandatory ignition interlock device (IID) requirements for certain DUI 1st Offense convictions as well as offenders with prior DUI convictions, Tennessee judges have the discretion to order the installation of an IID as a condition for any Tennessee DUI conviction.  Interestingly, if a judge orders the installation of an ignition interlock device at his or her own discretion, as opposed a situation where the IID is specifically required by Tennessee law, the defendant may be required to have the device installed for a longer period of time.  For instance, when mandated by Tennessee law for a DUI 1st offense conviction, as discussed in Part 1 of this series, the IID may only be ordered for the length of the Tennessee driver’s license revocation.  However, when ordered purely at the discretion of the judge, the ignition interlock device may be ordered to remain on the defendant’s vehicle for any period of time up to 1 year after the expiration of the Tennessee driver’s license revocation period.

Any Tennessee defendant who is eligible for a DUI-related restricted Tennessee driver’s license may also request an ignition interlock device.  If a defendant requests an IID, at his or her own expense, the person would be able to drive without geographic restrictions (i.e. to and from work, school, place of worship, etc.) during the driver’s license revocation period.   In this circumstance, a judge may not extend the required period of the ignition interlock device beyond the Tennessee driver’s license revocation period.  If required by Tennessee law to have an IID installed, a defendant is eligible to have the costs paid from the Interlock Assistance Fund. However, it is important to note that Tennessee law does not allow for monetary assistance for indigent defendants who are not ordered to install an IID, but opt for such installation of their own accord.

If you have any additional questions or concerns about the new Tennessee DUI laws, please feel free to contact Steve or Sara at The Oberman & Rice law firm by calling (865) 249-7200.

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As of July 1, 2010, a DUI Conviction Costs You More

Among the new and updated DUI/DWI-related laws generated from the Tennessee 106th General Assembly (2010) is the requirement that each person convicted of a TN DUI charge be taxed a $40.00 Ignition Interlock Device (IID) fee.  The purpose of the fee is to fund the Ignition Interlock Fund, which is being created to pay for installation and maintenance of the ignition interlock device for indigent defendants in certain circumstances.  The $40.00 IID fee is the second court cost increase for Tennessee DUI convictions to be mandated by the Tennessee Legislature this past year.  See my June 20, 2010 post, Where Does the Chemical Test Fee Go?, for information on the other fee increase.

In the coming weeks Tennessee DUI Center will continue to provide information on the new and/or updated Tennessee DUI/DWI laws.  Please check back each week for a new highlighted law.  In the meantime, if you have any questions about Tennessee DUI laws or DUI/DWI-related matters, feel free to contact Steve or Sara at 865-249-7200 or visit us online at either www.tndui.com or www.duiknoxville.com.

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Are Reductions Routine in 1st Offense DUI Cases?

Most new clients we meet have the incorrect preconceived notion that as long as they have never been in trouble before (no convictions, no traffic tickets, etc.), the State will simply agree to reduce the pending DUI 1st Offense to something such as a Reckless Driving.  In reality, a person’s prior criminal history, or lack thereof, is seldom relevant to the case unless the person is convicted and facing sentencing.

Over the past several decades, the trend in our society has been toward harsher penalties and more conservative laws for driving under the influence.  A recent story in the ABA Journal highlights one reason that prosecutors are hesitant to be lenient on the punishment for DUI offenders.  DUI prosecutors often state that they cannot reduce a DUI, even if just a first offense, because the defendant may then go out and repeat the behavior of driving while impaired, endangering the lives the community.  This exact scenario, as reported by the ABA Journal, recently played out in Maryland.  However, rather than striking and injuring a citizen at large, the defendant in question struck and injured a retired Maryland County Judge and his wife.  The same Judge had previously shown leniency to the defendant, suspending his DUI sentence (meaning he did not have to serve any time in jail).

Accounts such as these provide prosecutors, state legislators and private organizations (such as MADD) with the ammunition needed to justify the “no tolerance” trend toward DUI offenders.  Unfortunately, although each Driving Under the Influence case is quite unique and bears individual scrutiny to determine whether a reduction is appropriate, many jurisdictions are pushing for convictions in all cases under the assumption that the defendant will re-offend.

This trend only highlights the importance of selecting a qualified attorney to handle your DUI case.  Never assume that you can handle the case yourself or hire the cheapest lawyer you can find because you are assured a reduced charge due to your clean record.  Do your homework and hire the very best DUI defense attorney that you can afford.  For more information on how to select a Tennessee DUI attorney, click here.  For information about a Tennessee DUI charge, you may contact Steve Oberman or Sara Compher-Rice at (865) 249-7200.

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Have a DUI conviction? Read this before traveling to the 2010 Winter Olympics!

When a person is convicted of or pleads guilty to the offense of Driving Under the Influence (DUI) in Tennessee, the law requires that a judge advise them of the mandatory penalties set by the Tennessee legislature.  The judge must also advise the person of enhanced penalties for future DUI convictions.

The judge is not required, however, to advise a defendant of the possible restrictions a Tennessee DUI conviction could place on travel.  For instance, once convicted of a TN DUI offense, a person is deemed “criminally inadmissible” to Canada.  In fact, if border authorities learn of Tennessee DUI arrest, pending trial, or even the simple issuance of a criminal warrant, you may be denied entry.

Typically, one must follow specific “rehabilitation” procedures to be granted access to Canada following a conviction for driving under the influence.  However, a person cannot even begin the application process until a period of five (5) years has passed since the expiration of his or her sentence (rather than 5 years from the date of conviction).  In some rare instances, one may be granted a temporary residence permit, which would allow the person entry even during a period of criminal inadmissibility.

Two excellent references on this subject can be found at http://www.tripadvisor.com/Travel-g153339-c49436/Canada:Dwi.Or.Dui.Driving.Convictions.html and http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/visit/faq-inadmissibility.asp#note1.

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Your Right to Refuse a Breath Test or Blood Test Has Changed!

It is fairly common knowledge that Tennessee citizens have long had the statutory right to refuse an officer’s request to submit to a chemical test of the officer’s choice if the officer had “reasonable grounds” (probable cause) to believe the driver had committed the offense of Driving Under the Influence (DUI or DWI) in most DUI cases.  As of July 1, 2009, however, this law has changed. Tennessee Public Chapter 324 has amended Tennessee Code Annotated Section 55-10-406 to eliminate the right of the driver to refuse a breath test, blood test, or urine test if the law enforcement officer has probable cause to believe that the driver has committed the crime of DUI, vehicular assault or vehicular homicide and was involved in an accident resulting in the injury or death of another.

 

If the officer has probable cause to believe the driver has committed one of aforementioned violations AND an accident with injury or death occurs, the officer is required to test the driver to determine the alcohol or drug content in the driver’s blood.  The driver does not have the right to refuse the requested test.

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Want to work for Donald Trump? Not if you’ve been convicted of DUI.

This season of NBC’s The Celebrity Apprentice highlights one of the most overlooked consequences of a Tennessee DUI arrest and conviction–the loss of future job opportunities.  Once Donald learned of a contestant’s DUI arrest and conviction, she was promptly fired.  While Khloe Kardashian was not arrested in Tennessee, the consequences of not being hired because of a DUI conviction are universal. For more information about this and other consequences associated with a Tennessee DUI/DWI conviction, please visit http://www.tndui.com/dwi-dui-information/other-consequences.html.

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