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Knox County criminal defense attorney drug possession

If you are a parent, you know that it is far from uncommon for teens to push the limits. Their desire for independence can lead them to defy your rules, any regulations set by their high school, and even legal limits that apply to all Americans. Testing the limits is not always a bad thing, but when drugs and alcohol are involved, things can quickly take a turn for the worse. For those who are at the legal drinking age, the blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit is 0.08 percent. For those under 21, Tennessee law enforcement has no tolerance for a BAC over zero. Unfortunately, many teens will get behind the wheel after drinking or doing drugs, assuming that they are OK to drive, but then they end up facing driving under the influence (DUI) charges. Such penalties often lead to losing your driver’s license, but what about other drug or alcohol violations that were not committed while driving?

Drug Free Youth Act Offenses

For those between the ages of 13 and 17, the Tennessee Drug Free Youth Act allows a court to limit your driving privileges if the minor faces any form of drug charges—even those not committed while driving. This includes any criminal offenses, violations, status offenses, or infractions that involve the possession, sale, use, or consumption of any controlled substance. The severity of the penalties correlates with the number of offenses that the minor has on his or her record.

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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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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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