Last week, former University of Tennessee quarterback and radio host Erik Ainge was dismissed. Ainge had been charged with a DUI, "violating the implied consent law and a roadway lane violation," in July of 2013 by the Knoxville police. At the time of the arrest, a Knoxville police officer had noticed the pickup Ainge had been driving was swerving in traffic on I-40 early on a Sunday morning.
For most people, a DUI charge in Tennessee may be their first encounter with the criminal justice system. While the penalties for a DUI vary, depending on whether you have had any prior DUI convictions, even a first time offense can be very unpleasant.
In the past we have shared information about the legal hardships experienced by Todd Harrell, a band member of rock group 3 Doors Down. He has been arrested various times in his life, and a couple of those arrests have been within the last couple of years here in Tennessee.
When someone is pulled over and treated like a drunk driving suspect, it can be easy for him to just go along with whatever a police officer asks of him. He is made to feel guilty right from the start and can feel like he has to provide any sort of evidence that the police might want.
We generally stick to Tennessee criminal law matters on this drunk driving blog, but sometimes matters from out of state send a message to all states. Currently, a district attorney in Pennsylvania is supporting the argument that breathalyzer tests are not reliable sources of drunk driving evidence.
Being taken into custody after an accident and having your blood sampled for possible DUI charges will naturally make you feel helpless, even if you're sure you weren't intoxicated -- but the outcome of the blood test is not always the final word in the story. In a Vermont criminal DUI case currently moving through the courts, a forensic pathologist consulted by the defense has raised new questions about the manner in which the driver's blood was tested. Forensic pathologists are medical specialists who investigate the circumstances of sudden or accidental deaths.
Over the past months we have discussed Tennessee's new "No Refusal" policy throughout several posts. If police suspect a driver of operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol, and the driver refuses to submit to a blood alcohol content (BAC) test, the law gives police the ability to request a search warrant to force the suspect to be tested.
A couple of weeks ago, we discussed how police were going to begin enforcing the new "No Refusal" law in Tennessee. This law gives police the ability to seek a warrant for a blood sample to support a DUI charge if the driver refuses to give consent to the test. At least eight warrants have already been issued under the new measure.
Police began implementing a new impaired driving law over the holiday weekend. If a person is arrested for driving under the influence, the "No Refusal" law now permits police to obtain a search warrant for a blood sample upon showing probable cause.
A bill recently passed the Tennessee House which would allow judges to compel drivers to take a blood test if they refuse to take a breath alcohol test at the time of arrest. The vote on the bill was 52-33, just two more votes than the required number to clear the chamber.