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Strip Searched for a DUI Arrest?

Steve ObermanAccording to Tennessee House Bill 275, which was introduced this year (2013), strip searches would be allowed regardless of the crime for which one is arrested.  This necessarily incorporates the crime of Driving Under the Influence.

 Tennessee Code Annotated § 40-7-119 currently states,

“(a) As used in this section, “strip search” means having an arrested person remove or arrange some or all of the person’s clothing so as to permit a visual inspection of the genitals, buttocks, anus, female breasts or undergarments of the arrested person.

(b) No person arrested for a traffic, regulatory or misdemeanor offense, except in cases involving weapons, a controlled substance or controlled substance analogue, shall be strip searched unless there is reasonable belief that the individual is concealing a weapon, a controlled substance, a controlled substance analogue or other contraband.”

The proposed change would be to delete the exclusions noted in subsection (b) and substitute instead the following:

(b)  Any person arrested for an offense may be strip searched in accordance with search or intake procedures.

As of  March 31, 2013, the proposed bill has not yet passed.   Tennessee citizens should be concerned, however.  Should this bill become law, persons who may be arrested for driving with an expired driver’s license, failing to appear in court for a speeding ticket, and of course, Driving While Intoxicated may find themselves strip-searched upon entering their local jail.

For updates on this proposed law, one may click the following link:

For additional information relating to traffic and DUI laws in the State of Tennessee, contact the DUI defense lawyers at Oberman & Rice, Trial Attorneys in Knoxville, TN.



About Steve Oberman

Steve Oberman
Since graduating from the University of Tennessee Law School in 1980, Mr. Oberman has become established as a national authority on the intricacies of DUI defense law. Steve is a former Dean of the National College for DUI Defense, co-author of a national treatise ("Drunk Driving Defense" published by Aspen/Wolters-Kluwer), and author of "DUI: The Crime and Consequences in Tennessee" (published by Thomson-Reuters/West). He has taught thousands of lawyers, judges, and members of the general public about the intricacies of this crime. Steve was selected as a Fulbright Scholar to teach at the University of Latvia School of Law in 2019. As a Tennessee DUI attorney, Mr. Oberman has successfully defended over two thousand clients charged with Driving Under the Influence of alcohol and/or drugs. In 2006, Mr. Oberman became the first DUI lawyer in Tennessee to be recognized by the National College for DUI Defense as a Board Certified Specialist in the area of DUI Defense law.

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