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Defending Against Federal DUI Charges

 Posted on July 26,2022 in Criminal Defense

Knoxville DUI defense lawyerWhen people talk about DUI charges and the potential consequences of a conviction, they are usually referencing state DUI charges. Every state, including Tennessee, has passed its own laws when it comes to the consequences of driving under the influence will be.

However, many people do not realize that if they are caught driving under the influence on federal property, they can be charged with a federal DUI and a conviction can have even direr consequences than state charges.

Federal Jurisdiction

There are a number of federally-owned locations where a driver can suddenly find themselves pulled over for driving under the influence. These include:

  • Airports
  • Buildings and parking lots owned by the federal government
  • Courthouses
  • Military bases and forts
  • National forests and parks

In Tennessee, one of the most common locations people are arrested for drunk driving are on lands that fall under the National Park Service (NPS), including the Appalachian National Scenic Trail, Cherokee National Forest, and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. A day enjoying the beauty of nature can quickly turn into a legal nightmare if a visitor to one of these areas is accused of DUI.

Federal DUI Charges

There is no specific federal drunk driving law, however, the person could be charged under the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) or under the Assimilative Crimes Act. Facing any kind of DUI charge can be serious, but if you are being charged with a federal DUI, the severity of the charges is elevated. Your case will be under the jurisdiction of a federal criminal court, not the state court system. Defending a DUI in the federal system carries a tougher and higher bar than in the state system.

Penalties for convictions are harsher. Crimes committed on lands managed by the NPS fall under the jurisdiction of the CFR, and a DUI is charged as a Class B Misdemeanor. If convicted, the person faces up to six months in federal prison, up to five years of federal probation, and a fine of up to $5,000.

It is also important to remember that even though these charges may be federal, there is still the issue of implied consent if the driver refused to submit to a breathalyzer. Under Tennessee’s implied consent law, refusal to consent could still mean loss of driving privileges, even if the criminal charges are eventually dismissed or the driver is found not guilty.

Call a Knox County Defense Lawyer Today

If you have been charged with a federal DUI, you need an attorney who has extensive experience handling federal cases and who understands how the federal criminal justice system works. Contact Jeffrey Coller, Knoxville Criminal Defense Attorney at 865-281-1000 to schedule a free consultation with a skilled Knoxville federal DUI attorney today.


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