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Tennessee’s DUI Law: More Than Automobiles and Alcohol

When most people think of a DUI they think of a person driving a car under the influence of alcohol. Tennessee’s DUI law, however, encompasses many more activities besides driving an automobile after drinking. A Tennessee man recently learned this the hard way.

The 48-year-old man was charged with drunk driving after a deputy saw him driving his John Deere riding lawn mower along the shoulder of the road. The deputy said the man’s speech was slurred and that he did not perform well on field sobriety tests.

Since the man had previous drunk driving convictions, he faced the possibility of steep penalties. A couple of weeks ago, the man agreed to a plea bargain in exchange for a $3,000 fine and two year prison sentence. He will be required to serve at least 30 percent of his time behind bars before being eligible for release.

Tennessee’s DUI Law T.C.A. § 55-10-401 prohibits a person from being “in physical control of any automobile or other motor vehicle on any of the public roads…..under the influence of any intoxicant, marijuana, controlled substance, controlled substance analogue, drug, substance affecting the central nervous system or combination thereof that impairs the driver’s ability…”

Therefore, motorized vehicles like lawn mowers, scooters and the like may be included under the statute. Moreover, besides alcohol, other substances like marijuana, prescription drugs and synthetic drugs may lead to DUI charges.

An experienced Tennessee DUI attorney can provide further information about Tennessee’s DUI laws as they apply to specific situations.

Source: The Tennessean, “TN man notches 7th DUI, this one on lawn mower,” August 1, 2012.

To learn more about drunk driving charges visit our DUI defense page.

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