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Bank of America Building
550 Main Street SW, Suite 775
Knoxville, TN 37902

Frequently Asked Questions About Tennessee DUI Charges

Tennessee DUI FAQs

Knox County Drunk Driving Defense Attorneys

Q. What will happen if I am pulled over on suspicion of DUI?

A. It is a good idea to know what rights you have before you are even stopped by the police. When you have been stopped for suspicion of drunk driving, it is important to be polite and to stay calm. If you believe that might be near or over the legal limit for blood alcohol content (BAC), you may wish to inform the officer that you are respectfully refusing preliminary BAC testing and field sobriety tests. Keep in mind that doing so could still result in you being arrested, at which point you should contact a qualified DUI defense lawyer.

Q. Do I need to hire a DUI defense lawyer?

A. Under Tennessee law, it is your right to represent yourself when you are charged with a crime, including driving under the influence. However, it is not a good idea to do so. The laws regarding DUI in Tennessee are complex as are the rules of criminal court procedure, and such matters are best left in the hands of an experienced attorney. A lawyer also has an understanding of what consequences and penalties are reasonable, which gives him or her the ability to negotiate with prosecutors in pursuit of a favorable resolution. Retaining a lawyer is also an indication that you take the charges seriously. There is too much at stake for you to proceed on your own.

Q. Will my case be dismissed if I was not read my rights?

A. The U.S. Supreme Court requires police officers to read suspects their Miranda rights prior to being questioned while in custody. This does not include during a traffic stop. However, if you were arrested and the police continued to ask questions after you requested an attorney, your rights may have been compromised.

Q. When is a DUI handled as a felony?

A. A DUI charge in Tennessee is usually a misdemeanor. If it is your fourth DUI, however, the charge will be a felony. You could also face felony charges for driving drunk with a child in the car or causing serious injury or death as the result of DUI.

Q. Am I going to jail?

A. A conviction on charges of DUI in Tennessee will result in jail time. A first-time offender will spend at least 48 hours in jail, with up to 11 months and 29 days of incarceration possible. A second or subsequence conviction will lead to longer minimum sentences.

Q. Will I lose my driver's license over a DUI charge?

A. According to the law in Tennessee, a DUI charge does not result in an automatic suspension or revocation of your driver's license. If you refuse a BAC test after an arrest on suspicion of DUI, however, you will lose your license for one year. A second or subsequent refusal will result in a two-year loss of driving privileges. If you are convicted of DUI, your license will be revoked for one year for your first conviction, with increasing revocation periods for each subsequent conviction.

If you or someone you love is facing charges related to driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, contact our office to get the help you need. Call 865-281-1000 for a free, no-obligation consultation. We serve clients in Knox County, Anderson County, Anderson County, Union County, and throughout East Tennessee.

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