DUI Defense Attorneys in Nashville, Tennessee 

Dealing with DUI charges can be a confusing and possibly overwhelming experience. That is why it is critical to get the right information to protect one’s right to a fair defense. While the internet can be a useful tool for knowledge, it can include common misconnections or other outdated information. Speaking directly to an experienced DUI defense attorney is the best way to get correct information, as well as skilled advice on what to do next. The attorneys at Brazil Clark, LLC are more than prepared to advise and advocate for you after you get a DUI.  From their office in Nashville, Tennessee, they serve those throughout Rutherford County. Reach out today, and schedule a free consultation

What Are DUI Charges in Tennessee? 

Driving under the influence (DUI) refers to operating a motor vehicle while impaired. This impairment is generally caused by alcohol consumption exceeding the legal limit, but also includes both illegal and legal drugs, and even prescription medications. That is why it is highly recommended that individuals taking prescription medications avoid operating a motor vehicle without their doctor’s advice. 

Please note the legal blood-alcohol level in Tennessee is 0.08. This blood-alcohol level is roughly equivalent to consuming three and a half (3.5) twelve-ounce beer cans for a man and about two and a half beer cans for a woman. Nevertheless, alcohol consumption varies from person to person. The legal team at Brazil Clark, PLLC recommends refraining from alcohol consumption when planning to operate a motor vehicle. It is merely common sense. 

DUI charges generally occur when law enforcement officers stop a vehicle of a suspected intoxicated driver. Law enforcement officers may perform a field sobriety test to reasonably determine if an individual is impaired. A breathalyzer test may also determine a driver’s blood-alcohol level more accurately. 

If a law enforcement officer believes an individual is a driver under the influence, the driver can be arrested and charged with DUI. Follow-up testing, such as a blood test, must confirm a blood-alcohol level exceeding 0.08 for formal charges to be filed. 

It is also worth noting that individuals do not necessarily need to be driving to get DUI charges. For example, falling asleep while intoxicated inside a motor vehicle, even on the side of the road and away from traffic, may lead to DUI charges. Or, having an open bottle in the car that a passenger is drinking from can also result in a DUI charge.  

The assumption is that the individual must have operated the vehicle while intoxicated. Therefore, there is reasonable cause to assume DUI charges. Thus, it is important to avoid even getting behind the wheel while under alcohol. 

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What Is a Field Sobriety Test? 

A field sobriety test is a specific set of actions law enforcement officers use to measure an individual’s impairment. A sober individual should be able to perform these actions without any impediment. As a result, the degree of difficulty an individual experiences helps law enforcement officers reasonably determine impairment levels. 

There are three recognized field sobriety tests in Tennessee: 

  • The horizontal gaze. This field sobriety test focuses on eye movement. Law enforcement officers look specifically to determine sideways or horizontal eye movement. When individuals are intoxicated, horizontal eye movement becomes more prominent. Consequently, individuals under the influence have a difficult time staring directly ahead. Instead, their eyes drift from side to side. 

  • Walk and turn. The walk-and-turn test focuses on balance. This test is commonly seen on television as it consists of walking from heel to toe in a straight line. Then, the individual turns one foot back in the opposite direction. Individuals under the influence of alcohol may find it difficult to maintain balance. 

  • One leg stand. This test checks for balance, similar to the walk-and-turn test. The individual is asked to stand roughly six inches off the ground on one leg. Law enforcement officers look for lack of balance with movements such as swaying, hopping, or an inability to stand on one leg. 

Please note that Tennessee law recognizes the Implied Consent rule. This rule considers that by getting behind the wheel, drivers imply their consent to a sobriety test when required by law enforcement officers. As a result, drivers face license suspension and other penalties if they refuse to take a field sobriety test. 

Possible Penalties for DUI in Tennessee 

Here is a look at the possible penalties for DUI charges in Tennessee: 

  • First offense. Jail term range from 48 hours to 11 months. Fines range from $350 to $1,500. License restriction for a year. Ignition Interlock Device required for six months.  

  • Second offense. Jail term range from 45 days to 11 months. Fines range from $600 to $3,500. Vehicle seizure and Ignition Interlock Device required for six months. Also, license revocation is possible for two years. 

  • Third offense. Jail term range from 120 days to 11 months. Fines range from $1,100 to $10,000. Vehicle seizure and Ignition Interlock Device required for six months. Also, license revocation is possible for six years. 

  • Fourth offense. One-year prison term with a minimum of 150 consecutive days served. Fines range from $3,00 to $15,000. Vehicle seizure and Ignition Interlock Device required for six months. 

In addition to jail time and fines, the court can order a convicted individual to enter substance abuse programs or psychological treatment. Further, you can face additional administrative and criminal penalties for refusing to take a breath test, as this violates the Tennessee state implied consent laws.

What Is the Ignition Interlock Program in Tennessee? 

Drivers convicted of DUI can opt for an Ignition Interlock to drive with a restricted license. An Ignition Interlock is a device that prevents a driver from getting behind the wheel with a blood-alcohol that exceeds legal limits.  

Drivers must blow on the mouthpiece to get a reading. If the driver’s blood-alcohol is within legal limits, the vehicle starts. An Ignition Interlock Device costs between $2.50 and $3.50 daily. Routine calibration is required at the driver’s expense.

DUI Defense Attorneys in Nashville, Tennessee 

At Brazil Clark, PLLC, skilled criminal defense attorneys work hard for their clients’ rights. Call today to speak with an attorney who can help protect your rights. They proudly serve those in Nashville, Tennessee, and throughout Rutherford County.