The question that should arise when dealing with “extreme DUIs” is, what is an extreme DUI? Generally speaking, the term extreme DUI is areferring to a case where the defendant charged with driving under the influence of an intoxicant faces increased punishment due to a blood or breath alcohol level in excess of a certain amount; a blood alcohol level in combination with a controlled substance; or violating this law with multiple controlled substances in their bloodstream. The alcohol levels at which the penalties increase vary from state to state. In Tennessee, the blood alcohol level at which an increased penalty applies to a first offense is .20%. Other states use a cut-off of .16%.
As of October 20, 2020 Utah is strongly considering joining almost 20 other states such as Tennessee and Arizona by implementing such a law. The rationale behind such laws is that drivers with higher blood alcohol levels are more likely to be involved in an accident injuring themselves and/or others.
Hiring a board-certified DUI defense lawyer and/or a chemical test expert becomes even more important when dealing with extreme DUIs. Understanding blood analyses to discredit or keep the prosecution’s blood test evidence from being used in court may make a huge difference in a defendant’s penalty if convicted.
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 has 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, 8th 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 six foreign countries. After being named a Fulbright Scholar, Steve was honored to teach as an Adjunct Professor at the University of Latvia Law School in the capital city of Riga, Latvia during the Spring Semester of 2019. If you would like to contact the author, please visit his website at www.tndui.com.