The numbers are in from 2014, and DUI arrests are on the rise in Tennessee. A recent report by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation states that 29,544 were arrested in 2014 for DUI, an increase of 639 people from 2013. Of the cases which went through the court system, 88% were either convicted of DUI or pled guilty to a lesser charge.

According to one source, “officials from the Chattanooga Police Department and the Tennessee Highway Patrol said the bump is due to new techniques that include using analytic software to predict when and where drunken drivers might crash and focusing more efforts around bars.” Tennessee’s “No Refusal” campaign – which allows officers to force you to submit a blood test almost immediately through the request of a warrant – has also contributed to the increase.

What you should know about DUI arrests

If you are pulled over under the suspicion of DUI, you have the right to refuse the test, and if there is no campaign going on, the officer may not be able to obtain a warrant right away. However, anyone who refuses a breath test will automatically lose his or her license for one year under Tennessee’s implied consent law.

Legally, your only option is to not drink and drive. However, law enforcement officials have been known to use a DUI stop as a means to search your car for other reasons. If you are pulled over, know that:

  • You have the right to remain silent. You are under no obligation to speak to a police officer who pulls you over, and to request a lawyer.
  • You have the right to leave unless the officer detains you. If you are stopped and given a breath test and found to be under the legal limit, you have the right to leave the scene (as long as the officer has not issued an arrest for some other reason.)
  • Police cannot search any part of your car without a warrant, even if you fail the breath test. Unless you keep open bottles of liquor on your passenger seat, there is usually no reasonable cause for an officer to search your car, and you may deny them the right to look.

At the Law Officers of Adrian H. Altshuler & Associates, we help people who are charged with DUI or who have been subject to unreasonable searches. Tennessee law enforcement is looking even harder for intoxicated drivers; let us protect your rights. Please contact the firm for more information.