DUI Arrest In Chattanooga?

Tennessee is tough on the prosecution of DUI charges. In fact, Tennessee is so tough on driving under the influence charges that the State hires and trains special prosecutors whose sole job is to convict people of DUI. The laws and procedures the police and the state are required to follow are complicated, and science upon which a DUI conviction is based is equally, if not more, complicated. If the State is going to use a specially trained DUI lawyer to try to convict you, you need a specially trained DUI lawyer to defend you!

To be convicted of a DUI the State must prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that you were driving (or in operation) of a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Foundation of their case is often based on the results of a chemical test (blood or breath) that show that the level of alcohol or drugs in your system requires a conviction (a blood or breath alcohol level of 0.08 is a mandatory DUI). The officers also perform a series of balance and coordination drills called "Field Sobriety Tests." A failed chemical test or field sobriety test is not a "sure thing" conviction. A lawyer trained in how to combat these tests is a must for an effective defense.

Sam Byrd has been specially trained in laws and science of DUI defense. Members of this College represent the most experienced DUI defense attorneys in the country. Mr. Byrd is an active member of the National College of DUI Defense where he commits himself to extensive and rigorous study and practice in the highly specialized area of DUI defense.

Your DUI defense begins with a thorough investigation into all aspects of your arrest, focusing on key aspects that can become part of a successful defense strategy, including:

  • Did the officer have probable cause to stop you and continue the investigation?
  • Were the field sobriety tests properly conducted?
  • Are the results of the test for blood or Breath alcohol content (BAC) accurate?

Even if the state's evidence is strong, you may still have legal options, especially if this is a first-time offense. I often can negotiate a plea agreement that reduces or dismisses a DUI charge. If the consequences cannot be minimized to a reasonable level then your case may go to trial where the State will try to show a jury everything you did wrong and why you should be convicted and we will work to prevent conviction by creating reasonable doubt in the minds of the jury by pointing out everything you did right in the encounter. This defense requires an intimate knowledge of the facts of your case and the laws and science of DUI.

Judicial Consequences of a DUI Conviction

The law requires mandatory minimum penalties for all convictions for driving under the influence. Additionally, there are many other non-legal consequences of a DUI conviction.

DUI Convictions are for life.

It is important to be aware that DUI, unlike many other crimes, cannot be expunged or removed from your record unless your case is won or dismissed. A DUI conviction remains on your record for life.

1st Offense

– Class A Misdemeanor

2nd Offense

– Class A Misdemeanor

  • Mandatory Minimum of 48 hours in jail and up to 11 months & 29 days.
  • If blood or breath result are 0.20 BAC or greater a minimum jail time of 7 consecutive days is required.
  • Loss of driver’s license for 1 year (A restricted license may be available in TN with an ignition interlock device).
  • $350-$1,500 fine
  • Ignition Interlock Device installed at your expense. Minimum first year costs could exceed $1,000.00
  • If two (2) convictions of DUI in 5 years, Ignition Interlock Device required for 6 months after reinstatement at your expense
  • Drug and Alcohol Treatment may be required at the judge's discretion
  • With towing, bail, high risk insurance, court costs, DUI school, and reinstatement fees, your first offense average costs could add up to $5,000, not including attorney fees
  • Mandatory Minimum of 45 days in jail and up to 11 months & 29 days.
  • $600-$3,500 mandatory fine
  • Loss of driver’s license for 2 years (A restricted license may be available in TN with an ignition interlock device).
  • Potential seizure/forfeiture of vehicle upon conviction
  • Ignition Interlock Device installed at your expense. Minimum first year costs could exceed $1,000.00
  • If two (2) convictions of DUI in 5 years, Ignition Interlock Device required for 6 months after reinstatement at your expense
  • Drug and Alcohol Treatment may be required at the judge's discretion
  • Pay restitution to any person suffering personal injury or loss

3rd Offense

– Class A Misdemeanor

4th & Subsequent Offenses

– Felony

  • Mandatory Minimum of 120 days in jail, up to 11 months & 29 days.
  • $1,100 to $10,000 mandatory fines
  • Loss of driver’s license for 6 years (A restricted license may be available in TN with an ignition interlock device).
  • Potential seizure/forfeiture of vehicle upon conviction
  • Drug and Alcohol Treatment may be required at the judge's discretion
  • Ignition Interlock Device installed at your expense. Minimum first year costs could exceed $1,000.00
  • If two (2) convictions of DUI in 5 years, Ignition Interlock Device required for 6 months after reinstatement at your expense
  • Class E Felony
  • Mandatory Minimum of 1 Year (365 days) of jail time with a minimum of 150 consecutive days served.
  • $3,000 to $15,000 mandatory fine
  • Loss of driver’s license for 8 years (A restricted license may be available in TN with an ignition interlock device).
  • Potential seizure/forfeiture of vehicle upon conviction
  • Alcohol and drug treatment program
  • Ignition Interlock Device installed at your expense
  • If two (2) convictions of DUI in 5 years, Ignition Interlock Device required for 6 months after reinstatement at your expense

Note: If at the time of the DUI offense, the person was accompanied by a child under 18 years of age, the person's sentence shall be enhanced by a mandatory minimum of 30 days to be served in addition to the penalty for the DUI and an additional $1,000.00 fine.

Additional Collateral Consequences:

  • Mugshot posted publicly online and local newspaper.
  • Loss of car insurance or sky-high premiums.
  • Loss of job due to negative impact on a professional license or security clearance; additionally, many military offenders will suffer sanctions within the military in addition to the state penalties such as loss of driving privileges on base, loss of rank, and suspended pay.
  • Inability to travel freely outside of the United States.
  • Immigration problems.
  • Inability to get certain jobs.
  • Negatively affect divorces and child custody cases.