Drunk Driving in Tennessee

Franklin County Drunk Driving Defense Attorney

Asserting all your defenses if you’re charged with a DUI offense

The Tennessee statutes against drunk driving are intentionally severe.  They are designed to discourage those considering driving while under the influence of alcohol from getting behind the wheel.  They are also meant to discourage repeat offenses for those who have a prior drunk driving offense conviction—and have considerably harsher penalties for causing an accident while driving drunk.

There are often defenses. Many times the police don’t have grounds to stop you or don’t follow proper procedures when they do stop you. At The Law Offices of Adrian H. Altshuler & Associates, we’ve been fighting for criminal defendants for 30 years. We’ve helped numerous drivers of all ages obtain dismissals of DUI charges, acquittals, and plea reductions to less severe charges. We’ll fight to preserve your freedom and your driver’s license.

How can we help?

How common are alcohol-related traffic crashes in Tennessee?

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), one person in the US dies every 45 minutes due to a drunk driver. In 2020, 11,654 people died in America due to drunk driving, a 14% increase from 2019.

According to the Tennessee Department of Homeland Security, one of every three fatal crashes involves a DUI, and one in every seven serious injury crashes involves a DUI. One of every two DUI crashes results in injury or death.

What driving conduct can result in a DUI charge in Franklin County?

There are three reasons you could be charged with a DUI offense in Tennessee. It is illegal in Franklin County and the rest of the state to drive or be in control of a motor vehicle on Tennessee public roads or highways, streets or alleys, shopping centers, and any other premises the public frequently uses if:

  1. You were “under the influence of any intoxicant, marijuana, controlled substance, controlled substance analogue, drug, substance” or some combination that impaired your ability to safely drive the motor vehicle by depriving you of the “clearness of mind and control of oneself” that you should normally possess.
  2. Your blood or breath alcohol concentration (BAC) level is eight-hundredths of one percent (0.08%) or higher.
  3. You were driving a commercial motor vehicle and your BAC was four-hundredths of one percent (0.04%) or higher.

Other DUI-related offenses in Tennessee include vehicular assault, child endangerment, vehicular homicide, and aggravated vehicular assault while driving intoxicated.

Tennessee has a zero-tolerance policy (a .02 BAC limit) for drivers under 21.

What are field sobriety tests?

If the police have reasonable grounds to believe you were driving your car while under the influence of alcohol, then can give you three standard field sobriety tests. These tests are:

  • The horizontal gaze nystagmus test (HGN). In this test, the driver is asked to follow an object, such as a pencil, with their eyes.
  • The walk-and-turn test. In this test, the driver is directed to walk toe-to-heel in a straight line, turn on one foot, and then return to the original spot.
  • The one-leg stand test. Here, the driver is asked to stand with one foot about six inches off the ground and told to count until the officer says to stop – about 30 seconds.

Some of the indicators that the driver failed one or more field sobriety tests are that the task isn’t completed, the driver doesn’t follow instructions, the driver loses his/her balance, and other signs.

If a driver fails any of the field sobriety tests, he/she will likely be asked to submit to a breathalyzer test. In some cases, such as when there is an accident, a driver may be asked to submit to a blood test.

While drivers can refuse these tests, the failure to take these tests can be introduced into evidence and the driver’s license may be suspended because drivers generally give their implied consent to be tested for their BAC level if they are legally arrested.

What are the penalties for a drunk driving conviction in Franklin County?

Even first-time DUI offenders are facing jail time. The prison sentences, fines, license revocation, and vehicle seizure consequences for a first and subsequent DUIS are as follows:

  • First conviction. 48 hours (seven days if BAC is .20% or more). $350–$1500. One-year revocation. Ono vehicle seizure.
  • Second conviction. 45 days to 11 months, 29 days. $600–$3500. Two years revocation. Subject to seizure and forfeiture.
  • Third conviction.120 days to 11 months, 29 days. $1100–$10,000. Three to 10 years revocation. Subject to seizure and forfeiture.
  • Fourth-plus conviction. 150 days to the maximum allowable for a Class E felony. $3000–$15,000Five years (to indefinite) revocation. Subject to seizure and forfeiture.

How can a drunk driving defense lawyer in Franklin help me?

An experienced criminal defense lawyer experienced in DUI may be able to reduce the severity of your charges by carefully analyzing all of the circumstances and evidence related to your arrest, making sure that your rights were protected, that all tests were properly administered, and that the courts consider any extenuating circumstances or good history.

Some of the defenses and strategies we use on behalf of DUI defendants include:

  • The police did not have proper grounds to stop you. Generally, they need to see you violate a traffic law such as a speeding infraction, drive negligently such as by swerving into other lanes, or jeopardize the safety of others in some way.
  • The police did not conduct the field sobriety or chemical tests properly. The police should explain the consequences for noncompliance. The instructions should be clear and understandable.
  • The breathalyzer equipment was not properly validated or inspected.
  • The police violated one of your US or state Constitutional rights.
  • The prosecution could not prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt.
  • You have a reasonable explanation for a high BAC test result.
  • The police cannot show that you were in control of the vehicle.
  • Other defenses, depending on what happened.

Do you have a drunk driving defense lawyer near me?

The Law Offices of Adrian H. Altshuler & Associates provide three convenient locations for Middle Tennessee DUI defendants. We meet clients in person. We may also meet you in prison if you haven’t been released.

  • Franklin Office: 219 3rd Ave N
  • Columbia Office: 604 N High St
  • Brentwood Office: 1616 Westgate Cir #363

For 30 years, we’ve helped criminal defendants assert their defenses. Many DUI cases are resolved before trial. When necessary, we are ready to defend your rights before a judge and jury.

Call the Law Offices of Adrian H. Altshuler & Associates if you need a DUI attorney in Franklin County

Clients rely on the Law Offices of Adrian H. Altshuler & Associates to protect their interests through criminal defense cases. They know we do everything we can to aggressively pursue justice on their behalf.  Our Franklin County lawyers can do the same for you.  Call us today or use our convenient online form to schedule your free initial consultation.