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Do I Have to Perform a Breath Alcohol Test in a Tennessee DUI Stop?

 Posted on October 21, 2019 in DUI/DWI/BUI

Anderson County drunk driving defense attorney

Driving under the influence (DUI) is a serious crime, regardless of where you live in the United States. Driving with a substantial amount of alcohol in one's system impairs a driver's ability to drive in a safe manner due to delayed response times and altered senses. According to the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security, there have been 68,886 alcohol-related traffic crashes since 2009 -- and this is just in Tennessee. The law has limited the amount of alcohol legally allowed in a person’s system for this very reason

How Much Alcohol Is Considered Illegal?

Those with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 percent or more are above this “legal limit” in Tennessee. This number is abstract to most, making it difficult to “calculate” what your BAC is before getting behind the wheel. It is impossible to give an exact formula, since all body types are different. However, one can estimate that for every one drink, your BAC increases by about .02 percent. In other words, many people reach their driving limit at four or five drinks.

A standard “drink” contains approximately 14 grams of pure alcohol. Alcohol content varies based on the type of drink you choose for the night. The following are considered “standard drinks:”

  • 12 fl. oz. of regular beer

  • 8-9 fl. oz. of malt liquor

  • 5 fl. oz. of wine

  • 1.5 fl. oz. of hard liquor (gin, rum, tequila, vodka, etc.)

What if I Get Pulled Over?

Driving after a drink or two is not illegal, but it can lead to charges if motorists are not careful. When police officers pull drivers over at night, they will often request the driver to perform a breath alcohol test to verify that they are not driving over the alcohol limit. In some states, drivers can refuse the test without penalty, but Tennessee is not one of them. When Tennessee residents receive their driver's licenses, they give the state “implied consent” to perform breath alcohol tests any time they are requested. If they refuse, their driver’s license can be revoked for one to five years, depending on the situation. Some will refuse to perform the test out of fear of the results without realizing the legal consequences that may follow their response.

Call a Knoxville, TN DUI Defense Attorney 

Tennessee’s implied consent law can get innocent drivers into trouble without any other traffic laws being broken. Driving drunk is taken seriously by Tennessee law enforcement, and any refusal to be compliant can result in a stain on your permanent record. At the law offices of Jeffrey Coller, Knoxville Criminal Defense Attorney, we know that a misunderstanding can lead to serious consequences, and we believe that everyone deserves a second chance. If you are facing any charges related to driving under the influence, contact our Union County criminal defense lawyer at 865-281-1000 for a free consultation.


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