Tennessee DUI Laws 2012
Two new Tennessee DUI laws now make it more difficult to defend persons accused of driving under the influence. In another change, the DUI penalty when the driver is accompanied by someone under the age of 18 has increased.
The 2012 Tennessee Legislature amended Tennessee Code Annotated § 55-10-406 (the Implied Consent Law). This law applies after an officer concludes that a person is probably under the influence of an intoxicant and then requests the suspect to submit to a chemical test (blood, breath, or urine). The 2012 amendment clarified that an individual may be forced 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. This law is now clarified to eliminate any defense to Driving Under the Influence of an intoxicant even if they are entitled to lawfully use the substance/intoxicant. This often occurs after a physician has prescribed medication to the driver.
Moreover, the penalty for a person convicted of DUI who was accompanied in the vehicle by a person under the age of 18 was enhanced. The new law 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 increased penalty must be served in addition to, and at the conclusion of, any jail time and fine otherwise imposed for the underlying DUI offense.
Laws such as these emphasize the importance of hiring a 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 in particular, you may wish to review our website at www.tndui.com or, better yet, call the Oberman and Rice Law Firm at (865) 249-7200.