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Frequently Asked Questions About DUI/DWI in Tennessee

Frequently Asked Questions About DUI/DWI in Tennessee

Knoxville DUI Defense Attorney

Q. What should I do if I am stopped for DUI?

A. When you have been pulled over by the police on the suspicion of driving under the influence (DUI), it is important to know your rights. Regardless of the circumstances, be polite to the officer to avoid escalating the situation. If you have been drinking, it is probably in your best interests to respectfully exercise your right to refuse the officer's request for standardized field sobriety tests (SFSTs). Only if you are absolutely certain that you are under the legal blood alcohol content (BAC) limit of 0.08, is it in your best interest to cooperate with the officer’s requests for standardized field sobriety tests or a preliminary breathalyzer. Do not make any statements that may harm your case. In the event that you are arrested, you should call an experienced DUI defense attorney immediately.

Q. Can I represent myself in my DUI case?

A. According to the law in Tennessee, you have the right to represent yourself in any criminal proceeding, including when you are facing charges for DUI, but you should not try to handle your case on your own. A qualified DUI lawyer almost certainly has a better understanding of the state’s DUI laws than you do. An attorney also knows what is considered fair and reasonable in a DUI case, which allows him or her to negotiate with prosecutors from a position of strength. Hiring an attorney shows that you are taking the matter seriously. The stakes are simply too high for you to represent yourself.

Q. Is a DUI a felony?

A. Most DUI charges in Tennessee are handled as misdemeanor offenses. If you are facing charges for a fourth DUI offense, however, the charge is automatically a felony. Felony charges are also possible for DUI with a minor child passenger, causing serious injury in a DUI accident, or vehicular homicide.

Q. What if the officer did not read me my rights?

A. An officer is only required to give the Miranda Warnings before questioning you after you have been taken into custody, but anything you say during a traffic stop could be used as evidence against you. With that in mind, it may be possible to have certain statements excluded from your case. Our firm can help you determine if your rights were compromised in any way.

Q. Will I lose my license if I am charged with DUI?

A. Under Tennessee law, your license will not be automatically suspended or revoked simply for being charged with DUI. However, if you refuse to submit to a breath or blood test after you have been arrested, your license will be revoked for one year for a first offense and two years for a second or subsequent offense. Your license will be revoked if you are convicted of DUI: one year for a first conviction, two years for a second conviction, six years for a third conviction, and eight years for a fourth or subsequent conviction.

Q. Can I go to jail for DUI?

A. If you are convicted of driving under the influence, you will go to jail for a minimum of 48 hours for a first offense. If your blood alcohol content was 0.20 or greater, the minimum sentence is seven consecutive days. Depending on the circumstances, you could be facing up to 11 months and 29 days of jail time. Subsequent offenses will result in longer sentences.

Q. Have you ever gotten a client off on a DUI charge?

A. At The Law Office of William F. Evans, we have successfully defended many clients facing DUI charges. For example, we were able to get the charges dismissed entirely against a client who was found passed out behind the wheel. In other cases, we have gotten charges reduced from DUI to reckless driving or public intoxication. We will work with you in exploring the options that may be available in your case and help you protect your rights and your future.

If you or a member of your family has been arrested and charged with DUI, contact our office. Call 423-449-7980 for a free consultation. We represent clients in Knox County, Blount County, Anderson County, Loudon County, Sevier County, Campbell County, and communities throughout East Tennessee.

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