BAC For DUI: Will Tennessee Lower It?

Drunk driving offenses are aggressively prosecuted in many jurisdictions around the country, and Tennessee is no exception. In fact, Tennessee is one of the strictest because its DUI laws require mandatory jail time, even for first time offenders. This begs the question: will Tennessee be another state to lower the legal blood alcohol content threshold from .08 to .05 percent?

Mandatory Jail Time For DUI Offenders

The consequences for a DUI conviction in Tennessee are severe. Even a first DUI offender faces a minimum of 48 hours in jail and a fine of $350. Of course, aggravating factors result in more serious consequences. These factors include test results indicating higher BAC levels and whether the DUI incident caused injury to others.

The Rationale Of .05 Percent BAC Level

According to studies from the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, the statistical risk of accident is lowered when a driver's BAC level is .05 percent or lower. Yet the enforcement of this lower standard could be problematic. For some individuals, even a single alcoholic beverage might put them slightly over this limit. Since the legal BAC limit is considered a bright line between legal and illegal intoxication, an individual who formerly considered it safe to drive home after one drink might now be at risk of a criminal conviction if he or she failed a breathalyzer test.

Would A Lower BAC Level Impact Your Defense?

Although this sounds alarming, keep in mind that an experienced DUI defense attorney reviews the entire record for strategic opportunities. As a preliminary matter, the police generally must have cause for the initial traffic stop. Thus, an individual very close to a .05 BAC level who wasn't driving erratically might never be stopped in the first place. Of course, this theory would be ineffective against DUI checkpoints where every driver can be stopped, regardless of any signs of erratic driving.

Contact An Experienced DUI Defense Attorney

We have the experience to mount a strong defense for DUI offenders. Even in the face of BAC evidence, we will investigate for procedural errors by the police, the lab, or in the chain of custody. Any evidence obtained after an illegal stop might be deemed inadmissible by the court, depriving the prosecution of its ability to prove a DUI defendant's guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. If you have been arrested for DUI, call 423-933-2738 for a free initial consultation. We have the experience to pursue every avenue for your defense. You may also complete our online form.