DUI Laws in Knoxville
Facing DUI Charges in Knoxville, TN
When it comes to Driving Under the Influence (DUI) charges, Tennessee does not play. With some of the harshest DUI penalties in the nation, even first-time offenders face mandatory jail time and costly fines upon court conviction. If you have been arrested and charged with a DUI, it is imperative that you understand the laws you allegedly violated and contact an experienced criminal defense attorney to help you fight your charges.
Tennessee’s DUI/DWI Laws
Drivers charged with DUI are accused of operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs. In Tennessee, the BAC limit for adults 21 and over is 0.08%. Moreover, drivers with a BAC limit of 0.20% face enhanced penalties under the Tennessee law.
Tennessee’s Stricter Standard
While some states impose a “Zero Tolerance Policy,” drivers under 21 are subject to Tennessee’s stricter standard. This law is intended to deter underage drinking, and as a result, the BAC limit for minors is 0.02%. It is important to understand that the BAC limit is so low for minors that even chewing a piece of gum before being tested can result in a skewed reading. Therefore, a minor can be convicted of a DUI or underage DWI even if they were completely sober.
Implied Consent & Chemical Testing
Tennessee also follows the Implied Consent principle, which states that drivers implicitly consent to police administered chemical testing from the moment they get behind the wheel. This law gives law enforcement the legal authority to conduct chemical testing—including blood, breath, and urine testing—if they suspect drivers to be driving while intoxicated. Refusal to comply automatically results in a revoked license.
Additional DUI offenses
In the commonwealth of Tennessee, if you cause severe bodily harm to another driver as a result of driving while intoxicated, the state prosecutor may charge you with Vehicular Assault. This crime is a Class D felony and carries harsh penalties, including a minimum of two years in prison to a maximum sentence of a 12-year sentence.
Vehicular Homicide & Aggravated Vehicular Homicide
Tennessee Code also defines the penalties for the crimes of vehicular homicide and aggravated vehicular homicide. If your DUI resulted in the death of another person, you would likely be charged with vehicular homicide which is a class B felony. However, in certain circumstances, the state prosecutor may pursue a charge of aggravated vehicular homicide, which is a class A felony.
The difference between the two crimes essentially comes down to if the driver had any prior DUI convictions and how high their BAC level was at the time of the incident. Every case is unique, but typically a prosecutor may push for full penalties if you have multiple DUI convictions, or if you had a BAC level of 0.20% or higher at the crime scene with prior DUI convictions.
Again, vehicular homicide is a class B felony punishable by a minimum of eight years to a maximum of 30 years in prison. Meanwhile, aggravated vehicular homicide is a class A felony, with a minimum prison sentence of 15 years and a maximum sentence of 60 years. Moreover, a felony conviction will carry a stigma that will follow you for the rest of your life.
Collver Law Takes on DUI Cases in Knoxville, TN
Every DUI case is unique. However, they all warrant help from qualified legal representation. If you have been charged with a DUI in Knoxville, Tennessee, it is critical that you contact Collver Law today. Mr. Collver is an experienced DUI defense attorney who will handle all circumstances surrounding your arrest to build a robust defense strategy. With so much at stake, there is no time to waste. Call today to schedule a consultation and get started on protecting your freedom.