Things to Know About Your DUI Case in Tennessee
By Tennessee DUI Attorneys at Summers, Rufolo & Rodgers
What You Should Know Before You Are Stopped
- You do not have to consent and should not consent to field sobriety tests
- You have a right to an independent blood test
- You may be videotaped and recorded during the entirety of the stop
- DO NOT DRINK AND DRIVE
Elements of DUI – What The State Must Prove
- Your identity
- That you were driving or in physical control
- Of a motor vehicle
- In Tennessee
- On a public road, highway, alley, or premises generally frequented by the public at large (includes parking lots)
- Either your blood alcohol content was .08% or higher, or
- You were under the influence of an intoxicant that impaired your ability to safely operate a motor vehicle
Observations You Should Record ASAP After Your Arrest To Provide To Your Attorney
- Where had you been and where were you going?
- How many alcoholic beverages had you consumed?
- Names, addresses and telephone numbers of witnesses who were with you and can testify as to your condition of sobriety.
- What were your observations of the police officer?
- What reason did the officer give for stopping you?
- Did the police officer activate his blue lights to stop you?
- If not, how did the officer stop or approach you? Did you feel free to leave, and if not, why? Be specific.
- What were the police officer’s instructions to you for field sobriety tests?
- Did you make any statements to the police officer?
- Did the officer read the implied consent form to you?
- Did the officer order you or ask you to submit to a breath or blood test?
- What do you recall about what he told you about consenting to a blood or breath test?
- What were the results of any breath or blood tests?
- How many times did you attempt a breath test?
- How long did the officer observe you prior to the breath test?
- Was the officer doing anything else while “observing” you prior to the breath test?
- If you had a blood test, where were you taken for the blood test?
- Who administered the blood test?
- Step by step, explain what the person administering the blood test did.
- Did the officer inform you that you had a right to have an independent test?
- Were there any witnesses to your arrest?
- What is your medical background?
Crucial Needs For Defending Your Case
- A complete investigation of your case
- Obtaining a copy and reviewing any video of the stop and arrest, any video of your entry and booking at the jail, and any video of the breath or blood test
- Vigorous cross-examination of the police officer
- Knowledge of constitutional principles applicable to DUI
- Knowledge and understanding of field sobriety tests
- Knowledge and understanding of breath and blood testing
Questions We Will Address In Defending Your Case
- Did the officer have a reasonable articulable suspicion to stop your vehicle?
- Did the officer have probable cause to ask you to take a breath or blood test?
- Did the officer have probable cause to arrest you?
- Did the officer have the statutory authority to arrest you?
- Were you in physical control of your vehicle?
- Is there exculpatory evidence to prove your innocence?
- Is there an evidentiary problem with your blood alcohol test?
- Is there a question about the reliability in the blood/breath testing machine or in the procedures used in obtaining the sample?
- Is there a chain of custody issue regarding the blood sample?
- Are there any personal characteristics or medical conditions which could affect the results of your breath or blood test?
Ways To Challenge Your DUI Case
- Discredit the officer’s testimony through inconsistent statements
- Discredit the officer’s testimony through failure to recall
- Use the video of the stop to challenge the stop
- Use the video of the field sobriety tests, jail entry, and breath or blood test to show the lack of impairment
- Pretrial motions challenging
- Constitutionality of the stop
- Constitutionality of any search
- Admissibility of field sobriety tests
- Probable cause to arrest
- Reliability of the breath testing machine or testing procedure
- Reliability of the blood testing machine and testing procedure
- Chain of custody of blood sample
Determining If You Go To Trial
- Estimate the strengths and weaknesses of the State’s case against you
- Understand the effects of a conviction
- Cost benefit analysis: How much is it worth to defend your case?
How Will This Affect Your License?
- If your blood alcohol is over the legal limit or you refused a test, and if you are convicted, you may not be able to drive for a long period of time.
- Restricted licenses are granted only to true first offenders allowing you to drive:
- Going to and from working at your regular place of employment
- Going to and from court-ordered alcohol safety program
- Going to and from a college or university if you are a full time student
- Going to and from a scheduled interlock monitoring appointment
We offer a free consultation on all Tennessee DUI cases and many other state and federal criminal matters. Please contact us at 423-933-2738 to set up an appointment.