The Tennessee Supreme Court is going to hear a case that has thrown many drunk driving prosecutions in the state into uncertain territory. Last month, the Criminal Court of Appeals said that the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation’s lab fee system is “unconstitutional.”
Because of that ruling, many criminal defense attorneys believe Tennessee court can’t accept blood or breathalyzer tests as evidence in DUI cases until TBI’s lab stops demanding a $250 fee from defendants convicted of drunk driving.
A Chattanooga defense attorney argued that the fee is a conflict of interest because the lab only demands it from people convicted of DUI. That means the TBI has a monetary interest in securing convictions on drunk driving charges and that the conflict of interest casts doubt on the credibility of crime lab results.
It is obvious to all that if lab results were not accepted as evidence, prosecutors would have a much more difficult time in securing convictions.
Arguments in the case that stems from a 2012 Chattanooga DUI arrest will take place in Nashville on May 31. Some media outlets have speculated that the case could result in the overturning of hundreds of DUI convictions across the state.
As you know, a drunk driving conviction can result in jail time, fines, license suspension and mandatory installation of an interlock ignition device.
If you face a drunk driving charge in Shelby County, discuss your legal options with a criminal defense attorney who understands the law and the court system and can protect your rights, freedom and driving privileges.