The Most Important Factors in a DUI Case

We are often asked: what are the most important factors that impact a DUI Case in Rutherford County, Tennessee?

For DUI cases in Tennessee, there are two critical factors that play into any agreement that can be achieved with the District Attorney: (1) the Blood Alcohol Content (BAC); and (2) any prior convictions for Driving Under the Influence (DUI).

Let’s take a look at each of these factors in Rutherford County DUI cases.

How BAC Affects Your Case

Under Tennessee Law, it is unlawful for any person to either drive or be in the possession of any automobile (or other motor vehicle) while either: (1) under the influence of any intoxicant, marijuana, narcotic drug, or drug producing stimulating effects on the central nervous system; or (2) having a BAC of 0.08% or higher.

When you are arrested on suspicion of a DUI, the State will take a blood sample for testing with the Tennessee Bureau of Investigations to determine the BAC. If the sample returns a positive BAC of 0.08%, or higher, the State will prosecute you as a DUI offender. If the sample returns under a BAC of 0.08%, the State will send the blood for further testing to determine whether any drugs were in your system.

The results of what is in your blood are eventually sent to the District Attorney, who will use the results to make an offer to settle your case. But the bloodwork isn’t the only thing that factors into a DUI case. The District Attorney will also consider any prior convictions that you may have.

How Prior Convictions Affect Your Case

As mentioned above, the State will make their initial offer once they receive the results of your blood testing. If the State pursues DUI prosecution against you, the offer you receive will depend upon your prior alcohol-related offenses, if any.

If you are charged with a DUI First Offense, the most common charge in Rutherford County that we see, the minimum penalties include:

  • Forty-Eight (48) Hours in Jail
  • $350.00 Fine
  • Eleven (11) Months and Twenty-Nine (29) Days Probation
  • Twelve (12) Hour Alcohol Safety School
  • DUI Victim Impact Panel
  • One (1) Year License Loss
  • Court Costs

If you are charged with a DUI Second Offense or higher, the minimum penalties increase for each additional offense on your record within the past ten years. For a summary of the minimum penalties for multiple DUI offenses, Click Here.

If you or a friend or loved one have been charged with a DUI Offense, you can call our experienced Murfreesboro DUI Attorneys for a free consultation. We are here to help. When it matters most.

Arrested for DUI. Is My Life Over?

If you are arrested and charged with DUI, is your life over? No. There are many things that you can do that will get you through this process, even if you end up with a conviction on your record, without any significant scars. However, you should expect to work to make this happen.

In Tennessee, a DUI Conviction carries a minimum forty-eight hours in jail, attendance for at least two different education classes, a one year license loss, court fines and costs, and one year of probation.

While that sounds bad, for DUI cases here in Rutherford County, there are opportunities to attend rehabilitative centers, which can count for time served in jail and which offer courses that will satisfy certain requirements under state law. There are also local businesses who will install an ignition interlock device and local agents who can offer SR-22 coverage, which will allow a restricted license even if you are convicted of DUI.

Note: Proof of both SR-22 Insurance and the installation of the Interlock Device are required to obtain a restricted license in Tennessee, which allows drivers to continue driving under certain circumstances even after a DUI Conviction.

All of the things listed above can be done before your court date, which will show everyone involved that you are taking this seriously and significantly increase your chances to get through this process without further damage to your life. Further, there are many successful people who have lived past a mistake in their life. You can persevere through this as well.

With mindful preparation and dedication to doing the work beforehand, you can get through this process without significant scars on your future. So no, your life is far from over.

If you have any questions or would like to set up a consultation to discuss any charges with our office, please reach out at 615-890-1099 to set up a time to come in and meet with Scott and Chase.

First DUI Court Date: What if the Blood Isn’t Back?

In Tennessee DUI Cases, police often get blood from people arrested for DUI offenses. In certain cases, a driver refuses to give blood. Sometimes, the officer proceeds with the arrest without blood. Other times, the officer gets a warrant and has the blood drawn by force. In summary, the state has blood from the driver in most DUI cases.

Often, people arrive at their first DUI court date to find out that the state does not know their blood alcohol level, or BAC. I am often asked what happens at my first court date if my bloodwork isn’t back and the answer is quite simple.

In Rutherford County Criminal Cases, including DUI Cases in Murfreesboro, each side gets one “reset” from the court, which just means the court would pick another court date several weeks or months down the road. Each side gets one reset by right. Often, the state uses their reset to wait for evidence and a defendant uses his reset to find an attorney. However, there are plenty of reasons to use a reset.

The most common question about bloodwork at a first court date for DUI is whether the case will be dismissed because the bloodwork is not back from the lab. The short answer is no, based at least in part on what is said above– that each side gets to ask the court to reset the case at least once.

If you get to your first DUI court date and your bloodwork is not back, it is alright to ask the court to dismiss your case, but the court will likely just select a new court date. Use that time to your advantage! Learn more about your case, consult with an attorney, or, if you already have an attorney, let your attorney use that time to prepare.

Tennessee DUI: How do I get a SCRAM Bracelet Removed?

If you are arrested for a second or greater DUI in Tennessee and later bond out of jail, a judge can order you to wear an alcohol monitoring device, known as a SCRAM bracelet, around your ankle. We are often asked “how can I get the SCRAM bracelet removed?”

Tennessee DUI law requires that a court consider placing one of the following conditions on anyone who is arrested for a second or greater DUI and later bonds out of jail:

  1. The use of ignition interlock devices;
  2. The use of transdermal monitoring devices or other alternative alcohol monitoring devices;
  3. The use of electronic monitoring with random alcohol or drug testing; or
  4. Pretrial residency in an in-patient alcohol or drug rehabilitation center.

The most common condition given to someone who bonds out of jail for a DUI is the use of an alcohol monitoring device. However, you can have this device removed if you complete one of the other conditions that courts can apply.

For example, if you check yourself into in-patient alcohol or drug treatment, then the alcohol monitoring device can be removed. Another instance where the alcohol monitoring device can be removed is if you install an ignition interlock device on your vehicle.

In short, a criminal defense attorney can file the required Motion and Order to have your SCRAM bracelet removed, so long as you complete one of the other conditions required by law. Ask a criminal defense lawyer how they can help.

Tennessee Adopts Two New DUI Laws in 2014

Driving under the influence of alcohol is serious business in Tennessee. Not only are those who are behind the wheel affected. Their families are often affected as well because individuals can serve significant time in jail for DUI offenses.

With this in mind, legal representation is key when it comes to DUI matters, as there are several offenses for which people can be charged.

DUI offenses range from Violation of Implied Consent and Refusal to Submit to Blood Alcohol Information, which are misdemeanors, to four-time repeat offenders, whose conviction would be considered a Class E Felony and may contain up to one year of jail time.

More serious DUI offenses also include Child Endangerment, Vehicular Homicide, and Aggravated Vehicular Assault, all of which may occur while driving intoxicated.

In the state of Tennessee, two new laws were adopted this summer that involve the aforementioned topics.

Amelia’s Law
The first new DUI law in Tennessee is named after Maryville’s Amelia Keown, who was killed in a collision by a repeat DUI offender. Under this law, it is possible for any drug/alcohol offender to be monitored daily with a transdermal monitoring device.

DUI Recidivism Reduction Act
The second new DUI law in Tennessee gives the court power to sentence second and third time DUI offenders to substance abuse treatment after serving a designated period of time in jail. This law could ease the overcrowding in jails as drunk drivers are sometimes grouped in the “non-violent” class.

While there are many scenarios that pertain to DUI law, the one constant that remains the same is that sound representation is crucial to all parties involved in a DUI case.