Like the majority of states, Tennessee mandates an implied consent law. Basically, this law states that by driving on Tennessee roads, you are agreeing to be tested for intoxication if a law enforcement officer suspects you of driving under the influence. The type of test taken—blood, breath or urine—is up to the discretion of the arresting officer.
There are a few caveats to this law. For example, an officer may not arbitrarily ask anyone to submit to a test; he or she must have probable cause to suspect you of driving under the influence before asking you to submit to testing. Further, the officer must inform you of the consequences for refusing the test. If the officer fails to advise you of the consequences, you will not be held to the punishment for refusal.
If you refuse to submit to testing when an officer has probable cause to suspect you of DUI, you will be in violation of the implied consent law. The penalty for this violation is suspension of your driver’s license for one year, or two years if you have a previous DUI conviction on your record.
If you do refuse the test, Tennessee law enforcement officers will generally not force you to submit. An implied consent violation is a violation of civil law; this means that there is no criminal charge or penalty that may be levied against you for refusing to submit to testing. This also means that even if your DUI charges are dropped or reduced, you still may be found in violation of the implied consent law, and subject to the one-year suspension. You generally will be able to apply for a restricted driver’s license.
If your case is dismissed, you may be able to prevent the revocation of your license or have your license reinstated before one full year has passed, if the court finds that the officer lacked probable cause or reasonable grounds to test you in the first place.
If you have been charged with DUI in the state of Tennessee, you should consult with an experienced attorney who is well versed in DUI law. Marcos Garza is a knowledgeable Knoxville-based lawyer who is dedicated to the intricacies of DUI defense.
To schedule a free DUI case consultation, call the Garza Law Firm at (888) 680-7554.