Franklin DUI Defense Attorney
Tennessee doesn’t kid around when it comes to drunk driving; the state has some of the toughest driving under the influence (DUI) penalties in the country. If you get convicted of DUI in Tennessee, you face steep fines and jail time and the loss of your driver’s license, along with other costs and penalties. Your car insurance will skyrocket, and you can lose your job or professional license as well. Penalties increase significantly with each subsequent offense. If you’ve been charged with DUI, it’s essential to get immediate help from an experienced and successful Franklin DUI attorney. In Franklin and Williamson County, call Fort, Holloway, & Rogers, LLC.
DUI Laws and Penalties in Tennessee
It is illegal in Tennessee to operate a motor vehicle while under the influence of any intoxicant or with an alcohol concentration in the blood or breath (BAC) of .08% or more. BAC is determined by a chemical test of the breath, blood or urine and is most typically done through a breath test such as a breathalyzer. Blowing .08% or more creates a presumption that you were driving under the influence in violation of the law.
Underage drivers (ages 16 to 21) can be found guilty of DUI with as little as .02% BAC and be sentenced to community service, fined $250, and lose their license for a year. This offense is a misdemeanor for drivers over 18 and a delinquent act for juveniles aged 16 to 18. The Franklin criminal defense lawyers at Fort, Holloway, & Rogers have extensive experience in juvenile defense as well as the defense of adults charged with DUI and other offenses.
Conviction of a first offense of DUI in Tennessee can result in a fine ranging from $350 to $1,500, as well as jail time ranging from 48 hours to just shy of a year. In addition, the Department of Safety will move to revoke your driver’s license for one year on a first offense.
You could also be ordered into an alcohol treatment program, be forced to pay restitution for any damages you caused, and ordered to pay court costs associated with your arrest. To get your license back, you’ll have to pay a reinstatement fee, and you’ll find that your car insurance premiums have gone through the roof.
Fines, jail sentences, and the driver’s license revocation period increase considerably with each subsequent offense. Your vehicle becomes subject to forfeiture after a second offense, and a fourth DUI is a felony offense punishable by a year in jail (five months minimum), up to $15,000 in fines, and loss of license for eight years. In certain circumstances, you could also be charged with related crimes as well, such as child endangerment, vehicular assault, or vehicular homicide.
Because of the serious penalties for a first offense DUI conviction and the much more severe consequences of a subsequent conviction, it’s imperative that you contact a DUI defense attorney after an arrest for practical and strategic advice on your options. As with any criminal offense, the state has to prove their case against you, and just because you were arrested for drunk driving, that doesn’t mean that you will necessarily be found guilty of DUI.
How to Fight DUI Charges in Franklin
The burden is on the state to prove its DUI case against you, and you have the right to defend yourself against the charges and have an attorney represent you. Some of the defenses that might be available in your DUI case include the following:
Lack of Probable Cause
The police can’t just pull someone over for no reason. They must have reason to believe the person was driving under the influence or committing some other violation. Once pulled over, they can’t test the person’s breath for alcohol without probable cause to believe the person might be intoxicated. Likewise, the police can’t make an arrest without probable cause based on the information available to them. If any of these actions – initial stop, testing, arrest – were taken without reasonable suspicion or probable cause as required by law, your attorney should be able to get the charges dropped or the case dismissed.
The police often build their case to arrest based on roadside testing, which might include field sobriety tests or a chemical test such as a breathalyzer. Most field tests for sobriety are highly subjective and scientifically inaccurate; only a few are sometimes accepted as valid or reliable. If the police used the wrong field tests or conducted them improperly, their evidence is suspect and can be challenged in court. Breathalyzer results can also be challenged if the test was performed improperly, if the equipment was not properly maintained or calibrated, or if other factors may have tainted the results.
Your license can be suspended if you refuse to take a chemical test of your BAC when lawfully required to do so, but only if the police inform you of the consequences of your refusal. Procedural violations like this can result in a successful challenge to a license suspension, suppression of evidence, dismissal of charges, or valid defenses at trial. At Fort, Holloway, & Rogers, our Franklin DUI defense attorneys will look at all the facts and put forward all defenses applicable to your case.
Fight to Keep Your Driver’s License
If convicted of DUI, the court can revoke your driving privilege for years, depending on whether it is your first offense or if you have previous DUI convictions. Even without a DUI conviction, however, you can still get your driver’s license revoked by the Tennessee Department of Safety. This administrative agency will revoke your license for one year on a first offense, two years on a second offense, and six years on a third offense.
You have the right to a hearing before the department can revoke your license, but you must request this hearing within ten days of your arrest. If your license is being revoked based on a refusal to test, you might have as many as 20 days to request your hearing, which can go forward even if your DUI case is dismissed.
At the administrative hearing, you can raise all the defenses described above to demonstrate why your license should not be revoked. You can also apply for a restricted license to travel to and from work or school or court-ordered treatment. A restricted license usually comes with the requirement to install an ignition interlock device (IID) on your vehicle at your expense, which prevents you from starting the car if you have alcohol on your breath.
Get Help After a DUI Arrest in Franklin
Getting arrested for drunk driving is a scary experience with severe consequences. Don’t give in to despair, though. Instead, call an experienced Williamson County DUI defense attorney who can review your case and advise you on your options. You might have a valid defense against the charges, and an experienced attorney can help you get the best result no matter what penalties you might be facing. In Franklin, Tennessee, call Fort, Holloway, & Rogers at 615-791-7575 for an honest assessment and strategic plan to help you with your DUI arrest.