5 Things You Need To Know If You Were Arrested For A DUI

Mar 7, 2023 | DUI

Being arrested for a DUI in the state of Tennessee can be an incredibly scary experience. If you’ve never gotten a DUI before, you may have no idea of what to expect, what the process is like, what is at stake, or what you should do next. Even if you have been charged with a DUI before, you may not remember what’s to come and it may not even matter if you do; things may be different this time around because it is a repeat offense. 

It is understandably overwhelming to find yourself charged with a crime. However, the more you know about DUIs, the better prepared you will be to navigate the road ahead more confidently, and the better your chances will be at avoiding harsh penalties. Knowledge is power! 

Here are 5 things you need to know if you were arrested for a DUI:

1 – You Need To Act Fast. 

In Tennessee, when you are arrested for a DUI, your license may be automatically suspended if you either a) refuse to take a chemical test of your blood alcohol level (BAC) or b) do take a test and your BAC is at or above the legal limit of .08%. You only have 10 days to challenge the suspension by requesting an administrative hearing. If you don’t request a hearing, your license could be suspended for a) a full year, if you refused the chemical test or b) another period of time that will vary depending on the circumstances of your arrest and prior record. 

Whether or not you challenge the suspension, an arraignment (a court hearing) will be set, typically anywhere from 2 to 6 weeks from the date of your arrest. During this hearing, you will be required to enter a plea of guilty or not guilty. 

It is critical that you have quality legal representation on your side before the 10 days, so you can challenge the suspension effectively, and before your arraignment so you can be advised of the pros and cons of pleading guilty or not guilty. A lawyer will need time to review the evidence against you and the circumstances of your arrest. That being said, you need to find a local DUI defense attorney as soon as possible because the clock is ticking. 

2 – The Charges Against You Are Serious.

The consequences of getting convicted for a DUI in Tennessee are nothing to be taken lightly. 

If this was your first time being arrested for a DUI, the consequences of conviction generally include:

  • Between 48 hours to 11 months and 29 days in jail (bail or probation may be available)
  • License revocation for 1 year (a restricted license may be available)
  • Between a $350 to a $1,500 fine 
  • Mandatory participation in an alcohol and drug treatment program
  • Restitution paid to any party who suffered physical injury or property loss as a result of a crash, if one occurred
  • An ignition interlock device installed at your expense, for a minimum of six months or a year or more, which could exceed $1,000.
  • And more. 

With these fines in addition to the bail, towing, court costs, school fees, reinstatement fees, high risk insurance prices, and attorney fees that you may need to pay, the total costs of a first time DUI could easily exceed $5,000. Also note that jail time could be up to nearly a year, in some cases, which is significant. 

For a second and third offense, the minimum time in jail may be 45 days or 120 days, and the fine may be in between $3,500 or $10,000. License revocation may be longer (two to six years), and mandatory community service or a victim impact panel may also get thrown into the mix. 

Conviction can negatively affect your reputation, your job and career prospects, your finances, your freedom, your relationship, your custody rights, your living situation, and more.

3 – Your Arrest May Not Have Been Legal. 

Just because you were arrested for a DUI doesn’t mean that you should feel hopeless or resigned to a fate of jail time and fines. There are many possible defenses that a DUI attorney may be able to mount in your case so you can avoid conviction!

Police officers in Tennesse must have “reasonable suspicion” or “probable cause” to stop and/or arrest someone for a DUI. While this wording can lead to gray areas, if they lacked a valid reason for pulling you over, any evidence they have against you – even if it is solid evidence – may not be admissible, and the charges may be able to be dismissed. 

If there were mistakes made during the course of the stop and arrest, such as them failing to advise you of your Miranda rights before questioning you, or conducting a faulty breathalyzer or field sobriety test (which are complicated and need to be performed accurately in order to be legally admissible), then similarly your arrest may be rendered invalid or can be challenged. 

4 – You Have Rights & Options.

Your case isn’t open and shut, even if it seems that way! Experienced DUI lawyers can help you understand all of the different options available to you, some of which you may not even know about and which may be different than what the police led you to believe. You have the right to an attorney’s help. Until you speak with an attorney, you shold be careful about what you say to the police, to friends, to family, and to your employer. You should also be careful what you say/post on social media. Remaining silent is a right of yours and one that should be exercised until you consult a lawyer’s advice! 

5 – Working With A Local DUI Defense Lawyer Gives You The Best Chances At A Good Outcome.

Without a lawyer on your side, it can be confusing and time-consuming to try to sort through the legalities of your DUI arrest. While you technically don’t need a lawyer to represent you, it’s never recommended that you represent yourself, because you don’t have the same legal knowledge of Tennesee DUI law, years of experience, and local court connections that an attorney would. 

A lawyer can prevent you from having to attend hearings that you would otherwise have to, saving you time. They can communicate with the courts on your behalf, handle all of the burdensome paperwork, investigate the evidence, and build a strong defense on your behalf. They can make your life easier while your case is pending and ultimately work to help you avoid conviction, or get the charges/penalties reduced so you can move past this incident and continue to achieve your life goals! 

At The Law Office of Chris Thompson, our lead attorney has nearly a decade of experience aggressively advocating for clients who have been arrested for a DUI. He can give you peace of mind. Call our firm right away to schedule a free, confidential consultation and learn more about what we can do to help!

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