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Did Tennessee officer’s ‘discretion’ go too far in DUI arrest?

There are certain circumstances that lead to more severe DUI-related charges. A crash can make a charge more serious. And so can a pregnancy, according to a recent Tennessee DUI arrest.

On Sunday morning a woman got into a single-car accident. When authorities arrived to the scene, they learned some information that apparently upped the ante in the traffic incident. The driver was pregnant and allegedly had alcohol in her system.

The public generally believes that a person won’t be charged with drunk driving unless her blood alcohol content measures at 0.08 or higher. Based on that belief, the woman in this Tennessee case wouldn’t face the DUI charge that she currently faces. Her BAC, after all, was reportedly 0.045 at the time of the accident.

The officer in this case used his ‘discretion’ and decided to make a DUI arrest. Not only is she charged with drunk driving, but the defendant is also charged with child endangerment because of her pregnancy. She is four months pregnant, and Tennessee law allows a person to be charged more severely as though she had an actual child in her backseat if she is far along enough in her pregnancy.

A criminal defense attorney in this case would want to challenge the DUI charge, particularly because the defendant was under the legal limit. The idea that an officer used his discretion when making the arrest leaves gray area for a defense attorney to weed through and try to mitigate the circumstances for his client.

Source: KLTV, “Police: Woman earns DUI for endangering fetus,” Kontji Anthony, Jan. 7, 2013

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