Friday, July 12, 2024

DUI News Blog

The Latest DUI News and Information From DUI Defense Attorneys Across the Country

New Tennessee DUI Law for Narcan Patients

Tennessee State
Senate Chambers1

As of July 1, 2024, the “Ben Kredich Act” goes into effect in Tennessee. This law, which has not yet been assigned a statute number as of this date of publication, instructs first responders who administer an opioid antagonist such as Narcan to an individual experiencing a drug overdose may provide information on the risk of driving while impaired (DUI/DWI) within a 24-hour period. The legislation is named after Ben Kredich, who tragically lost his life after being struck by a driver who fell asleep at the wheel after being administered Narcan in a hospital earlier that day. The driver in that case was unaware of possible side effects of Narcan and that the drugs causing the overdose would remain in his system for at least 24 hours.

This author finds it interesting that a first responder is not required to provide this information. Nonetheless, this new law creates a legal presumption of impairment that the defendant’s ability to drive was sufficiently impaired by the controlled substance that caused the opioid-related overdose to constitute a violation of Tennessee’s drunk driving law (DUI law), T.C.A. §55–10–401(1). This presumption of impairment creates some interesting legal issues relating to how it interacts with the constitutionally protected presumption of innocence. Some presumptions such as this may be legally permissible, but it is likely that an appellate court will be asked to clarify this issue in the future. Accordingly, it is imperative to hire a Tennessee DUI lawyer well-versed in such complex legal issues to hopefully avoid a conviction based on this law.


About the Author: Steven Oberman has been licensed in Tennessee since 1980, and successfully defended over 2,500 DUI defendants. Steve was the first lawyer in Tennessee to be Board Certified as a DUI Defense Specialist by the National College for DUI Defense, Inc. (NCDD). Among the many honors bestowed upon him, Steve has served as Dean of the NCDD and currently serves as chair of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers DUI Committee.

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, 9th 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 10 foreign countries.  After being named a Fulbright Scholar, Steve was honored to teach as a Visiting Professor at the University of Latvia Faculty of Law (Law School) in the capital city of Riga, Latvia for a semester during 2019.  In 2023, Steve was accepted an offer to teach for a semester as a Visiting Professor at Eötvös Loránd University Faculty of Law in Budapest, Hungary. Steve was designated a Fulbright Scholar for a second time and taught American Criminal Law and American Trial Advocacy at The University of Ljubljana Faculty of Law in the capital city of Ljubljana, Slovenia for 5 months in 2024 . If you would like to contact the author, please visit his website at www.tndui.com.

  1. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons, https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/ ↩︎

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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 American Criminal Law and American Trial Advocacy at the University of Latvia School of Law in 2019; in 2023 taught for a semester as a visiting professor at Eötvös Loránd University (ELTE) Faculty of Law in Budapest, Hungary; and as a Fulbright Scholar at the University of Ljubljana Faculty of Law in 2024. Steve has also presented at a number of judicial conferences in the United States and Canada as well as for law enforcement agencies, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Czech Republic Police Academy. 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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