If you are pulled over on suspicion of driving under the influence (DUI) in Tennessee, you may be asked to take a chemical test to measure your blood alcohol content. Refusing could mean losing your license for a year or more. Nashville DUI attorney Bernie McEvoy can provide guidance in DUI refusal cases as well as work to help you avoid a DUI conviction. He has the knowledge and skill to address any concerns you may have regarding a DUI refusal in Davidson or Williamson County.Tennessee Implied Consent Law DUI Refusal
Under Tennessee’s implied consent law, drivers are deemed to have given implied consent to a breath test for the purpose of determining the alcohol or drug content of their blood. If a police officer has probable cause to believe that you were driving under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or any other intoxicant or controlled substance, the officer may request that you submit to a chemical test. There are also some situations in which a police officer may be required to administer a chemical test, such as in a drunk driving accident involving injuries or death. You can refuse to take a breath or blood test. However, a DUI refusal may be a violation of the implied consent law. In a DUI refusal case, you may face penalties for an implied consent violation, even if you are not ultimately convicted of a DUI offense from the initial traffic stop.
In most situations, an implied consent violation for refusing a chemical test is not a criminal offense, but it may nevertheless result in the revocation of your driver’s license for a minimum period of one year. The revocation period may be longer depending on the offense charged, prior convictions, or repeat DUI refusals. Under certain circumstances that are provided by statute, a DUI refusal may be a Class A misdemeanor offense. An example of this situation could be if you refuse a breath test when you are driving with a revoked license from a prior DUI conviction and the police have probable cause to believe you are intoxicated.
If your license is revoked for a DUI refusal, a restricted license may be issued under limited circumstances that would allow you to drive for specific purposes, such as to and from your place of employment or school. However, to have your driving privileges reinstated after the revocation period, you will need to apply for a new license. You will be required to pay the standard license fee as well as a reinstatement fee, along with any applicable fines.Defending a DUI Refusal Case
There are some defenses that, if applicable, may help you avoid a license revocation and other consequences arising out of a DUI refusal. For instance, a police officer who asks you to take a breath test for a suspected DUI must also inform you that a refusal will result in the suspension of your driver’s license and may require installation of an ignition interlock device on your vehicle. If you refused to submit to a breath test and the officer failed to advise you of the consequences, the court cannot suspend your license or order an ignition interlock device.
The U.S. Constitution provides protection to individuals against unreasonable searches and seizures by law enforcement, including traffic stops. Consequently, if the police officer did not have sufficient cause to make the traffic stop that led to your DUI refusal and arrest, the court may dismiss the charges against you and order the Tennessee Department of Safety to reinstate your license. In addition, warrantless blood tests have been held to be unreasonable searches by the U.S. Supreme Court. Accordingly, refusing a blood test in Tennessee is not penalized unless the police have obtained a search warrant or exigent circumstances exist. A DUI refusal attorney can analyze the facts of your case to determine the best possible defense strategy in your situation.Contact a DUI Refusal Attorney in the Nashville Area
Nashville lawyer Bernie McEvoy can provide skilled defense representation in DUI refusal cases as well as drug charges and other criminal matters. He has assisted many residents of Davidson and Williamson Counties, including Nashville and Franklin. To request your free consultation, complete our online form or call the Law Office of Bernie McEvoy at (615) 255-9595 during business hours and (615) 804-8779 after hours.