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Tag Archives: Tennessee

TEXTING VS. DRINKING WHILE DRIVING: LOL OR SOL?

  On November 8, 2014, University of Oregon linebacker Joe Walker returned a fumble one hundred (100) yards against the University of Utah for a touchdown.[1] Both football fans and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) agree—this is a long distance. A NHTSA report states that “sending or receiving a text takes a driver’s eyes from the road for an average of 4.6 seconds, the equivalent—when traveling at 55 mph—of driving the length of an entire football field while ... Read More »

Tennessee v. Kennedy & Tennessee v. Wells – Blood Draws and the Fourth Amendment

Two Tennessee cases were recently decided concerning the constitutionality of mandatory blood draws of those accused of driving under the influence (DUI). This legal issue is highlighted in Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals cases, State v. Kennedy[1] and State v. Wells.[2] Both cases discuss at length the constitutionality of the Implied Consent statute, Tennessee Code Annotated (T.C.A) § 55-10-406(f)(2) in relation to Fourth Amendment rights against unreasonable searches and seizures. Generally, T.C.A. § 55-10-406(a) provides that “[a]ny person who drives ... Read More »

Southern Drawl or Alcohol?

Southern Drawl or Alcohol? Effects of One’s Speech on an Officer’s Perception of Their Soberness There is an array of characteristics that affect the cadence of one’s speech and their accent. Culture, heritage, geographical location, and education are all contributing factors to the way we speak. For example, it is a widespread stereotype that those from the Southern states of America are pegged with having a “drawl.” But is this endearing charm equivalent to signs that police officers often label ... Read More »

Facial Recognition by the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security

Knoxville recently added its third self-service kiosk designed for convenient driver’s license renewal. This kiosk, like the forty others in Tennessee, functions using biometric facial recognition technology to recognize the driver. As of 2013, agencies in thirty-seven states, including the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security, were using a database of photos for facial recognition: amounting to an estimated 120 million Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) photos kept in databases around the nation. Be aware, though that the implications ... Read More »

Criminal Court Judge Provides First-aid For Crash Victim Set To Appear In Her Court

Reports from Albuquerque, New Mexico, tell of Judge Sheri Raphaelson stopping to aid crash victim Isaac Martinez.  On February 12, 2014 Mr. Martinez was on his way to Judge Raphaelson’s court for burglary charges, when the truck driven by his mother slid off the snowy road.  Judge Raphaelson, riding with her bailiff, saw the crash and stopped.[1] Raphaelson is trained as an emergency medical technician and mid-wife, and was able to keep Mr. Martinez calm until emergency personnel arrived on ... Read More »

New Technology to End Drunk Driving?

In August 2013, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Chief David Strickland wrote to the CEO’s of major automakers and urged them to continue supporting research and development of in-vehicle alcohol detection systems.  In 2008, research funded by automakers and the federal government began an effort to develop in-vehicle technologies that would prevent intoxicated drivers from starting and driving a car.  Although the Ignition Interlock Devices that are currently used accomplish this same goal, this new technology would differ significantly. Ignition ... Read More »

Legally Prescribed Medication May Lead to a DUI Conviction

I receive many calls from persons arrested for DUI by prescription drugs who want to use as their defense the fact that they were taking the dosage of medication prescribed by their physician.  Today, prescription and over-the-counter drugs are a normal part of daily life for many people—many of whom are surprised to hear that taking a legally prescribed medication can still lead to a DUI conviction. Many prescription and over-the-counter drugs may impair a person’s ability to operate a ... Read More »

Tennessee Bureau of Investigation Re-Testing 2,800 Blood Alcohol Samples After Discovering a Mistaken Switch

The Knoxville News Sentinel (the local Knoxville newspaper) reported on a recent discovery that a TBI employee had mishandled and mistakenly switched the blood alcohol samples from two different people. This mishandling of evidence caused a man to be charged with DUI and vehicular homicide after he was involved in a fatal crash.  The incorrect sample showed that the man had a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .24%—when his actual BAC was .01%.  The mistake was only discovered after the ... Read More »

Strip Searches for a DUI Arrest? – Update

As a result of inquiries made regarding my earlier post discussing proposed legislation about allowing strip searches for DUI arrests and other misdemeanors in Tennessee, I am updating the information to better explain distinctions between legal decisions made in the federal court system and those made in the Tennessee court system.  These distinctions apply whether or not the case involves the issue of driving under the influence (DUI or DWI), but this post will address the issue as it relates ... Read More »

Strange But True – DUI & A Toy Truck

Sometimes DUI defense lawyers come across a story that bears repeating–even at the expense of the poor defendant.  A Jonesboro, Arkansas woman crashed her Pontiac Grand Am into the panels beneath a trailer home. The woman, described by the owner of the damaged property as grossly intoxicated, then jumped into a child’s “Power Wheels” truck and tried to drive away.  Ultimately, she was arrested close by at her mother’s house where she registered .217% blood alcohol on a preliminary breath ... Read More »