Knoxville TN Drunk Driving Defense Lawyer Outlines the “Tennessee Implied Consent Law”

If you’ve found yourself stopped for a DUI and the police officer requests that you to undertake a breath, blood or a urine test, should you take one? How are you affected if you reject?

Field Testing

You will discover three basic field sobriety tests which law enforcement officers often apply as a way to validate the drunk driving charge against you. These tests consist of the walk and turn test, the one-legged standing test as well as the horizontal gaze test. As a standard rule (and not like chemical testing), you will suffer no additional legal charges for declining to take such tests, despite the fact that the arresting officer can admit as to your rejection in the courtroom.

Implied Consent

Usually, if the police thinks that you are driving under the influence, the officer will inform you that you are required by law to submit to a blood test. The Tennessee implied consent law states you must undergo a chemical test (usually be testing the alcohol content in your blood) to find out your blood alcohol content (BAC). The implied consent laws assert that by simply driving a vehicle, you are agreeing to undergo a chemical test to evaluate your BAC should an officer have probable cause to believe you’re driving under the influence.

Timing of the Test

A chemical test should be given within a specific period of time – normally within a couple of hours from that time period that you were driving. Even so, regardless of whether you had taken the test after that period, you could possibly still be charged with a DUI. This is so because a blood or breath test demonstrating that the driver’s blood alcohol content is higher than .08 (the legal limit) is not a prerequisite for a conviction. The officer’s testimony about his observations and reasons for believing the driver was impaired at the time can be sufficient for a conviction. In these cases, it’s even more crucial to have an experienced Tennessee DUI attorney on your case to challenge the officers observations and conclusions.

Declining to Take the Test

In case you reject to take the test, you are most likely going to be charged with a violation of Tennessee’s Implied Consent Law. This can potentially result in the loss of a drivers’ license for a year and perhaps other consequences as well, such as requiring the convicted person to only operate a vehicle with special equipment included to assure that the driver is sober. Furthermore, once your case goes to court, the criminal prosecution is able to use your refusal against you – proclaiming that you understood you were drunk and that’s the reason why you rejected to take the test in the first place.

For anyone who is faced with these charges, it will be in your best interest to get yourself an expert Knoxville DUI attorney to help you in such cases.

 James A.H. Bell is the founder of Law Offices of James A.H. Bell P.C in Knoxville, TN. Mr. Bell has over 40 years of experience in both criminal and civil litigation and may be contacted by calling 865-637-2900 or by email at jbell@ The Bell Law Firm: Client Focused, Court Room Proven.

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