Criminal Defense Nashville
Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney in Nashville, Tennessee
If you are looking at this page it is possible that you or a loved one has been arrested in the State of Tennessee and is facing DUI charges. The penalties of getting a DUI in Tennessee include jail time, loss of driver's license, fines, high risk insurance, up to one year of probation and public service work. A Tennessee DUI conviction can haunt you professionally and follow you forever.
Tennessee also allows a DUI per se wherein you can be charged for allowing someone to be in control of your vehicle that is under the influence of alcohol or drugs. If you are convicted of a second and third DUI offense the penalties increase. A fourth DUI offense can result in a felony conviction.
The Tennessee General Assembly annually changes Tennessee's DUI laws to make penalties more severe for those who drive a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or other intoxicants. These penalties are serious enough that you need an attorney to represent you if you are facing DUI charges in Tennessee.
New DUI Laws in Tennessee that will take effect January 1, 2009:
T.C.A. 55-10-403: "if at the time of the offense the person was accompanied by a child under (18) years of age and such suffers serious bodily injury as the proximate result of the violation of T.C.A. 55-10-401 (Driving under the influence) the person commits a Class D felony and shall be punished as provided in T.C.A. 39-13-106 for vehicular assault."
T.C.A. 55-10-406: subsection (a)(1) that read "The State will no longer be required to administer a blood and/or alcohol test within two hours of a person's arrest or initial detention." was deleted.
Why do you need an attorney?
An experienced DUI criminal defense attorney can argue finer points of law that may assist you in obtaining reduced charges or a dismissal in Tennessee. For example, was the vehicle actually being operated? Did the officer have probable cause to pull you over?
The Tennessee Supreme Court has issued several opinions regarding whether or not a stop is justified and has even gone so far as to define how much "weaving" is enough to warrant a stop by a police officer. Case law in Tennessee changes every year and you do not want to face DUI charges in an attempt to navigate the law alone. Additionally, you may have a family member or neighbor who is an attorney. However, that attorney may not be practicing in DUI criminal defense work on a daily basis so they may not be aware of the most recent changes in the DUI laws. I recommend that you contact someone who is experienced in this particular area if you are facing DUI or criminal charges in Tennessee.
Tennessee's Government has authorized a special DUI task force which patrols the Nashville, Tennessee area after 10 p.m. These officers complete additional training in order to perform their job effectively. They are trained to look for probable cause and conduct DUI stops in professionally in order to protect the general public in Tennessee.
The State of Tennessee has hard working prosecutors charged with protecting the general public. They are not your friends and they are not employed by the Tennessee court system to help you in facing DUI charges. You need an attorney who will present your side of the case, who has your best interest in mind and will fight for you.
What is DUI?
The definition of DUI is operating or being in control of a vehicle while being under the influence of narcotics, marijuana, intoxicants or a drug that produces stimulating affects with a blood or breath alcohol concentration of over .08%.
What do officers look for as cues for someone driving under the influence in Nashville, Tennessee?
- Turning with wide radius
- Difficulties in stopping
- Accelerate rapidly
- Slow response to signals
- No headlights
- Illegal turn
- Follow too closely
- Stopping for no apparent reason
- Improper lane change
What is supposed to happen when I am arrested for a DUI in Tennessee?
- The officer is required to observe you for twenty minutes to ensure that you did not have any foreign substance in your mouth, consume other alcoholic beverages, smoke or burp which can alter the results of the blood alcohol test.
- If you consent to give take a breathalyzer test, then the machine which the officer uses to take your blood-alcohol level has at least eight requirements to be valid.
- The officer should be courteous to you, handle the arrest in a professional manner and transport you to a Tennessee jail for booking.
- If you have no prior criminal history there is a chance that the night court commissioner who reviews your case will allow you to be released through pre-trial diversion. If you are released on pre-trial diversion you do not have to post a bond. If you are a non-resident of the county in which you are arrested you will have to post a bond. You will need to locate a bondsman in Tennessee and pay approximately 10% of the bond that is set to him. He then guarantees the court that you will show up for your court date. If you fail to show up you will be liable for the entire amount of the bond. After your arrest, booking and release you will receive a court date. You should immediately contact an experienced DUI criminal defense lawyer in Tennessee and set up an appointment so that the attorney may interview you about your case.
How many times will I have to appear in court?
It depends. If you give the attorney enough information in your initial interview and he or she finds weaknesses in the State of Tennessee's case you case may be resolved with only one court appearance. However, less than 5% of cases are resolved this way and many continue to a second court appearance. Although you may be anxious to tell your side of the story at the court appearance, the second hearing in Tennessee is actually a probable cause hearing to determine whether or not there was probable cause for the arrest and your case is bound over to criminal court.
How much will my DUI cost?
You will find attorneys who quote an extreme range in prices from as low as $500.00 to as much as $15,000.00 depending on the details in your case.
The average DUI case at the General Sessions level requires only about five hours worth of work or $1,500.00.
You will probably receive numerous solicitations in the mail from attorneys who wish to represent you in court on your DUI in Tennessee. You need to interview attorneys in Tennessee carefully to decide which is best for your DUI.
What are the penalties for a DUI in Nashville, Tennessee?
•1st DUI Offense:
Up to 11 months and 29 days in jail and with a mandatory minimum of 48 hours of jail time and one (1) year of probation. You may be required to pick up litter for 24 hours and attend a Tennessee DUI school. The minimum fine for a DUI in Nashville, Tennessee is $350.00 and can be as high as $1,500.00.
•2nd DUI Offense OR DUI after a Reckless Driving Conviction:
You must serve a minimum of 45 days in jail and probation. If you have a substance abuse problem then sometimes up to 30 days of inpatient treatment can be substituted for the jail time; however, you will still need to finish the remaining 15 days of your sentence in jail. The fines are a minimum of $600.00, you may lose your driving privileges for 2 years, and you may receive alcohol treatment as well as an interlock ignition device being placed onto your vehicle.
• 3rd DUI Offense:
You must serve a minimum of 120 days in jail. The fines are a minimum of $1,000.00 and can be as high as $10,000.00. You may be ordered to drug and alcohol treatment, forfeiture of your vehicle as well as placement of an interlock ignition device on any future vehicles.
•4th DUI Offense:
You are facing a felony that allows for jail time of one (1) year but not more than six (6) years. If you are convicted of a felony you lose the right to own a gun, you lose your right to vote and you lose your right to travel to some countries. Fines are a minimum of $3,000.00 and can be as high as $15,000.00.
Why am I being charged with a DUI if someone else was driving my car?
You are responsible for your vehicle and if the driver of your car is presumed to be driving under the influence then you will be as well.
Will I go directly to jail if I get stopped for a DUI in Tennessee?
Are the stops videotaped?
Some officers use a video device on their dash to record their stop of the vehicle. Some do not. An experienced DUI attorney in Nashville can make a legal argument requesting a copy of the video to see whether or not there was probable cause for the stop.
Can Vanderbilt University campus police in Nashville, Tennessee pull me over for a DUI?
Can I be charged with a DUI in a National Park?
Yes. Federal DUI is different than a State of Tennessee DUI.
Can they take away my driver's license if I refuse the breathalyzer?
Yes. There is presumption that if you drive a vehicle in the State of Tennessee that you are giving consent to have your blood test and that you are not impaired. You will lose your license for a year but should not be convicted of a DUI unless there is enough evidence gathered during the field sobriety test.
Can my DUI case in Tennessee be dismissed if the police officer did not give me my Miranda warning?
No. Miranda warnings are not required for a Nashville, Tennessee DUI.
What if I got a DUI in another State?
The Assistant District Attorney will locate that information nine times out of ten through the NCIC.
I haven't been convicted of a DUI in more than 10 years, will that help me?
Can I lose my CDL license if I get a DUI in Nashville, Tennessee?
DUI is a serious offense. You need a proven lawyer who will fight to retain your driver's license, your car, and to keep you out of jail. Contact Lynda F. Jones of Jones Law Group at (615) 983-4500 for a free Nashville DUI consultation or email here.