For any driver, being pulled over by a police officer is a nerve-wracking experience. In cases where a traffic stop leads to an arrest and drunk driving charges, you need to understand your rights and options. Contrary to what some Memphis-area residents may believe, there are ways to successfully defend against and a win a reduction in or dismissal of DUI charges.
In Tennessee, criminal penalties associated with a first-time-DUI offense include:
- Time behind bars – 48 hours to 11 months
- Driver’s license revocation – 12 months
- Alcohol treatment – Participation in and completion of program
- Hefty fines – $350 to $1,500
- Ignition interlock – Judge may require that a driver install an ignition interlock device
The associated penalties for subsequent DUI offenses and DUIs involving minor-aged passengers or traffic accidents that result in injury or death; increase substantially.
If you are facing drunk driving charges, it’s important to discuss your case with a criminal defense attorney and to talk to your attorney about any and all details you remember related to the timeframe leading up to your arrest as well as the actual arrest. For example, do you have a chronic health condition or were you suffering from a physical injury or some other ailment at the time of your arrest? Where you taking any over-the-counter or prescription medications? These types of issues must be closely examined and considered when reviewing how a driver was acting and his or her performance on a field sobriety test.
What about the actual traffic stop? Did the police officer tell you why he or she pulled you over? What types of requests did a police officer make or questions did he or she ask? It’s intimidating to interact with law enforcement officials and many people fail to question the methods and tactics an officer may employ when making a traffic stop, questioning a driver or conducting a field sobriety test. What some drivers may not know is that police officers are required to abide by strict procedural rules when conducting DUI traffic stops and arrests and, in cases where they fail to do so, DUI charges may be dismissed altogether.