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Blount County Criminal Defense AttorneyKnoxville, Tennessee, is a beautiful city in the southern United States. Like many other states in the US, Tennessee has strict laws regarding driving under the influence (DUI). The consequences of drinking and driving can be severe and, in some cases, even deadly. You may be wondering if Knoxville has strict first-offense DUI laws, and the answer is yes!

Today, we will look closer at the laws in Knoxville surrounding first time DUI offenses and what you can expect to face if you are charged with one. For individuals who are facing charges related to drunk driving, it is essential to hire a seasoned criminal defense attorney to help fight charges and pursue a favorable case outcome. 

What to Expect if You Are Charged with Your First DUI

Tennessee takes first-time DUIs very seriously, with a conviction bringing down a cascade of legal penalties on those convicted. The minimum fine for a first-time DUI in Knoxville is $350 but can reach up to $1,500. The offender may also face up to 11 months and 29 days in jail, with a required minimum sentence of at least 48 hours. The severity level of the consequences will largely depend on the blood alcohol content (BAC) at the time of arrest. If the BAC is above .20 percent, the offender may be required to spend seven days in jail instead of the minimum of 48 hours. 


Knox County DUI Defense LawyerEvery year, thousands of people are arrested for driving under the influence (DUI). While many of these arrests are made following traffic stops initiated by police officers, some are based on anonymous tips from concerned members of the public. If you have been pulled over and arrested for DUI based on an anonymous tip, you may be wondering what your legal rights are in this situation. An experienced DUI defense lawyer can help you understand your options for protecting your best interests.

The Legality of Anonymous Tips and Traffic Stops

In short, yes – an anonymous tip can prompt a traffic stop. A concerned citizen can anonymously alert the authorities about a potential drunk driver, and the police are allowed to use this information as sufficient probable cause to pull over the vehicle in question. However, in order for an arrest to be made on suspicion of DUI or any other crime, the officer must personally observe evidence of criminal activity. This means that even if they receive an anonymous tip about a motorist swerving all over the road or driving erratically, an officer can only stop the motorist and begin looking for signs of impairment, such as slurred speech and sluggish motor skills.

The United States Supreme Court ruled definitively on this issue in its 2014 decision in Navarette v. California. The High Court determined that an anonymous tip of dangerous driving and a description of the vehicle in question were enough to give officers reasonable suspicion that the driver was impaired, thereby justifying the stop. However, this information alone is not enough to justify an arrest. Any subsequent arrest must be based on the officer’s observations and any field sobriety tests conducted at the scene. An anonymous tip alone is also not sufficient to justify a search warrant or a warrantless search of the vehicle in question.


Union County Drunk Driving LawyerAs a parent, you probably hope that your child makes good decisions. Unfortunately, many young people experiment with alcohol before they are old enough to do so legally. Teens and young adults in this situation may face consequences that include the suspension of their driver’s license, fines, and other penalties.

If you or your child are facing administrative consequences or criminal charges related to drinking and driving, contact an experienced underage DUI defense lawyer for help.

Consequences for Under-21 Drivers Who Have Been Drinking

You may already know that the legal blood alcohol content (BAC) limit in Tennessee is 0.08 percent. However, this limit only applies to drivers aged 21 or older. If a driver is under the age of 21, the legal limit is 0.02 percent. An underage driver found to have a BAC of more than 0.02 percent may be charged with the offense of “underage driving while impaired.” A charge for underage drinking is also possible. Charges for underage driving while impaired may also be filed if the underage driver is suspected to be under the influence of alcohol or any other intoxicant, regardless of the BAC test results.


Knox County Criminal Defense LawyerBeing pulled over on suspicion of drunk driving is never a fun experience. Typically, police officers ask a series of questions to drivers suspected of driving under the influence, including “Have you had anything to drink tonight?” Regardless of the answer, the officer may ask the subject to perform a series of field sobriety tests. These tests are intended to assess a person’s intoxication level. However, medical problems, injuries, and even obesity can prevent a person from completing field sobriety tests accurately.

What Are Field Sobriety Tests?

Field sobriety tests are physical actions that a person suspected of driving under the influence may be asked to perform. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recognizes a battery of three different tests as “Standardized Field Sobriety Tests” or “SFSTs.” One requires the person to stand on one foot without falling over or putting the other foot down. Another requires the person to visually follow a moving object while the officer assesses the driver for signs of “horizontal gaze nystagmus,” an involuntary eye movement indicative of intoxication. The third test requires the driver to walk heel-to-toe along a straight line while counting steps, then to turn and walk back along the same line to the starting point.

In some cases, officers will deviate from the SFSTs and ask the drivers to recite the alphabet or count numbers backwards to assess their cognitive functioning. These types of tests have even lower degrees of reliability as evidence in DUI cases.


Blount County DUI LawyerAlcohol consumption is a common part of life for many people in the United States and throughout the world, used in everything from social gatherings to religious ceremonies. Responsible consumption is often relatively harmless, but excessive drinking can pose increasing risks for both drinkers and the people around them.

Those who drink alcohol have a legal responsibility to refrain from driving while inebriated. In Tennessee, the legal limit for driving a private vehicle is a blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08. If you are found to have a BAC of 0.08 or higher, you can face legal consequences in the form of charges for driving under the influence (DUI). However, alcohol can begin to affect one’s body even at BAC levels below 0.08, and the effects increase at higher concentrations. If you drink alcohol, you should familiarize yourself with these different stages.

Physiological Effects of Different BAC Levels

Every person handles alcohol differently, which means that one person with a certain BAC might feel different effects than another person with the same BAC. An individual’s metabolism, size, body weight, genetic and acquired tolerance, and many other factors could affect how your body processes alcohol.

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