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Knox County criminal defense attorney DUI

Universities and colleges have always been known for their parties and easy access to alcohol. Aside from the higher education that these academic institutions provide students, they also present many young adults with their first opportunity to live away from home. This opportunity of growth is important for those on the verge of adulthood, but it can also lead many students down the wrong path. Despite what movies or TV shows may show, the legal drinking age restriction of 21 still applies to college students. However, easy access to alcohol leads many students to believe that they are invincible. The following alcohol-related offenses are common on Tennessee college campuses, leaving many students with criminal charges on their record and in many cases, additional consequences from the university.

Possession and Consumption

With house parties on every street corner and tailgates occurring on a weekly basis, college students have numerous opportunities to get their hands on alcohol and drink it without their parents’ watchful eyes. Just a few drinks in and students can quickly forget about campus police that patrol the streets looking for intoxicated, underage students. Possession and consumption of alcohol are both illegal for those under the age of 21. So, if a student is found walking around campus, sober, carrying a pack of beer, he or she can still face criminal charges. Those students who are found drinking underage in Tennessee can be charged with a Class A misdemeanor, carrying 11 months of jail time, community service, fees, and having their driver’s license revoked. 

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Knox County criminal defense attorney DUI

Driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol is a frighteningly common offense that many Tennesseeans have on their record. Across the country, states have instilled a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit to ensure that drivers who get behind the wheel after drinking alcohol are not too intoxicated to drive safely. With a 0.08 percent BAC limit in Tennessee, three to four drinks can place you above the legal limit to drive. In the past few years, Tennessee legislators have noticed a high number of repeat DUI offenders, but there has been a lack of recourse for these repeat offenses. In order to address these sentencing discrepancies, legislators passed House Bill 167 in 2019 after years of legal deliberation.

Looking at Statistics

Legislators included a number of statistics in their HB 167 bill summary, which explains why they believe that these harsher penalties are necessary for repeat offenders with DUI charges. According to the Tennessee Department of Corrections, 32.2 percent of all offenders will re-offend within a year of release from their sentence. This appears to be the case for all offenders, not just those with DUI charges. However, the high tendency to re-offend and low chance of harsher sentencing for DUI cases make it likely for those with such charges to drive drunk again in the future. News reports from Fox17 Nashville record the most habitual Tennessee DUI offender had 19 DUI arrests, something that these harsher sentences are hoping to mitigate.

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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.

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Knox County DUI lawyer

Driving while under the influence of alcohol can result in serious consequences, but so can driving while impaired by marijuana, methamphetamine, prescription drugs, or other narcotics. In Tennessee, anyone who drives a motor vehicle has automatically given legal consent to be tested for drugs, alcohol, or both. Drivers always have the option to refuse a test, but that will be treated in much the same way as if the driver had submitted to the test and failed. 

DUI is taken very seriously by law enforcement and the courts of Tennessee. If you stand accused of drugged driving, it is essential you enlist the services of an experienced criminal defense attorney who will fight for you.

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Knoxville DUI defense lawyerWhile drunk driving is the most common type of DUI faced by Tennessee drivers, a driver can also face criminal charges for driving under the influence of a controlled substance, including marijuana, prescription drugs, or other substances. If you have been accused of driving while impaired, an experienced attorney can help you understand your options for defense and work to have your charges or penalties reduced or dismissed.

How Is Intoxication or Impairment Determined?

In many cases, a person suspected of DUI is pulled over because they were driving erratically. In other cases, a driver may be stopped at a checkpoint, or they may have their blood alcohol tested after getting into an accident. No matter how it comes about, a driver can face some very serious consequences when charged with a DUI. However, a police officer must have probable cause before pulling a driver over, and simply saying that a driver seems to be under the influence is not enough to hold up in court. 

After being arrested for DUI, a driver will typically be subjected to alcohol and/or drug testing. In many cases, either a blood or urine sample will be taken and tested. This type of sample may be collected by any medical professional. Although there will be a legal test administered, the accused party also has the right to have an independent blood or urine sample tested by a licensed medical laboratory of his or her choice.

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