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Tag Archives: DUI penalties

To Blow or Not to Blow: Tennessee’s 2017 Implied Consent Law – Part 2

This is the second in a series of blog posts about recent changes to Tennessee’s Implied Consent Law.  If you missed Part 1, you may read it here: “To Blow or Not to Blow: Tennessee’s 2017 Implied Consent Law –  Part 1.” As discussed in Part 1, effective July 1, 2017, Tennessee made sweeping changes to its Implied Consent Law in an apparent attempt to comply with the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision, Birchfield v. North Dakota, 136 S.Ct. 2160 ... Read More »

To Blow or Not To Blow: Tennessee’s 2017 Implied Consent Law – Part 1

Effective July 1, 2017, Tennessee is making sweeping changes to its Implied Consent Law[1] in an apparent attempt to comply with the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision, Birchfield v. North Dakota, 136 S.Ct. 2160 (2016).  The Implied Consent Law and the Birchfield decision both address legal issues surrounding chemical tests to determine the alcohol and/or drug content in a person’s system. Specifically, they deal with the question of when and under what circumstances a blood or breath test may be ... Read More »

Forced Catheterization: Medically Acceptable and Reasonable?

Imagine you are pulled over and suspected of driving under the influence of an intoxicant (DUI or DWI). The Officer decides he has probable cause to arrest you for DUI, and pursuant to your state’s implied consent law, he requests that you provide a sample of urine to determine the alcohol and/or drug contents in your system. Again, he specifically requests a urine test, not a breath test or a blood test to determine the amount of alcohol, prescribed medication, ... Read More »

Will .05% Become the New National Legal Limit?

On March 8, 2017, Utah lawmakers passed legislation to lower the legal limit for a driver’s blood alcohol level to 0.05%.[1] On March 23, 2017, Utah’s governor Gary Herbert signed the bill into law, making Utah’s DUI threshold the lowest in the nation.  The lowered blood alcohol limit will take effect in the state on December 30, 2018—just before New Year’s Eve.[2] This is a distinct and separate law from Driving While Impaired or Driving Under the Influence. Accordingly, even if the ... Read More »

What is Fair Punishment on a DWI?

What are judges and prosecutors concerned with on a DWI? One of their main concerns is recidivism. Contrary to popular belief, the average recidivism rate for a first time DWI is approximately 21%[i]. Most people who get arrested for a first time DWI simply made a mistake. They will never be back in the system. In fact, most are going to punish themselves far greater than what a court or prosecutor could do to them. Will their alcohol BAC (breath or ... Read More »

Tennessee Adopts a (Limited) Good-Faith Exception to the Warrant Requirement

On November 3, 2016, Tennessee joined the ranks of over a dozen states that have adopted a limited good faith exception to the search warrant requirement in a Tennessee DUI case that involves a warrantless blood draw.[1] A blood draw for the purpose of determining a person’s blood alcohol content is a search under the Fourth Amendment, and a warrant is required unless an exception to the search warrant requirement applies.[2] For example, some exceptions include consent to the blood ... Read More »

Tennessee Repeals New Underage DWI Law

July 1, 2016 was a highly anticipated day for many in Tennessee: for the very first time, wine was available for purchase in grocery stores. Gliding in under the radar, perhaps because of all the hype surrounding the grocery store wine revolution, were many other changes to Tennessee’s alcohol-related criminal laws. One such legislative update changed the way that Tennessee handled a small and categorically difficult class of individuals: underage DUI defendants. These are people ages 18 to 20, who ... Read More »

An Alcohol Monitoring…Tattoo?

As DUI defense practitioners are well aware, a transdermal monitoring device such as a “SCRAM” device (a Secure Continuous Remote Alcohol Monitoring Device) is a prevalent but sometimes onerous tool in the bond condition, plea bargaining and sentencing processes. A client may be ordered to wear a SCRAM device ankle bracelet prior to trial, during probation, or as part of a compromised resolution of the case. The transdermal monitoring device continuously monitors a person’s blood alcohol level through skin contact ... Read More »

Tennessee Increases Jail Time for DUI Offenders with Six or More Convictions

Tennessee is again increasing penalties for multiple DUI offenders.[1] The 2016 Tennessee General Assembly amended Tennessee Code Annotated §55-10-402 to penalize more severely those who are convicted with six or more DUI convictions. This change applies to anyone committing an offense on or after July 1, 2016. As the law currently stands, a conviction for a 4th or subsequent DUI offense is a Class E Felony, which has a punishment range of 1-6 years. Accordingly, the law does not change ... Read More »

Don’t Count On The Minimum DUI Penalties

Richard Manley Floyd, a Knoxville Tennessee resident, learned the hard way that you don’t always get the minimum penalty.  With no aggravating factors such as an automobile wreck or injuries to anyone, Mr. Floyd received a jail sentence of 45 days instead of the minimum 48 hours for a first offense DUI conviction. The arresting Tennessee Highway Patrol Trooper stopped Mr. Floyd for traveling 20 mph over the speed limit. Mr. Floyd refused all field sobriety tests and declined to ... Read More »