Every year many Tennessee residents take to the roads to visit with family and friends over the Fourth of July holiday. The Fourth of July is an important day to celebrate the independence of the nation but also to embrace the special opportunities that the summer months offer. With pleasant weather and great company, individuals may spend their day outdoors, enjoying cook-outs and indulging in alcoholic beverages.
Drunk driving in the state of Tennessee is defined by driving while under the influence of alcohol. If a person's blood alcohol concentration is at or above 0.08 percent, then they are considered intoxicated and in violation of the law. However, for individuals under the age of 21, the standard is much higher since it is illegal for those below the 21 year age threshold to consume alcohol.
Tennessee residents understand that driving after they have been drinking is not a good idea. A drunk driving conviction is a serious matter, often resulting in thousands of dollars in fines, a tarnished reputation and even jail time. Many times, a person receives a drunk driving conviction because of a breathalyzer test. But researchers say a common breathalyzer used by law enforcement may not be accurate.
This Tennessee legal blog has offered several informative posts on ways that law enforcement officials may collect evidence of intoxication from individuals who they believe have driven while drunk. These collection tools can include breathalyzer and blood tests, field sobriety tests, and other assessments. If a person is stopped and arrested for drunk driving, they should know that law enforcement officers believe they are guilty and that they are in for a serious legal battle regarding their driving sobriety.
When a Tennessee resident is stopped on suspicion of drunk driving they may be asked to submit to various tests to assess whether they are intoxicated. This legal blog has previously discussed field sobriety tests and the problems that may accompany their execution, but this post will focus on one of the main ways that law enforcement officials gain blood alcohol concentration information on their drunk driving suspects: breathalyzer tests.
Drivers who consume alcohol before getting behind the wheel of their cars can pose a threat to others on the roads, as they may not be in control of their actions. For this reason, Tennessee and the other 49 states in the nation have created drunk driving laws that are intended to deter individuals from climbing behind the wheel while intoxicated and to punish individuals who are believed to be under the influence while driving. This post will look at one of the state's most important drunk driving laws: implied consent.
Last week, the Law Office of Sam Byrd discussed field sobriety tests on its legal blog. Field sobriety tests are the assessments that Tennessee law enforcement officials may use to determine if their suspicions of drivers' intoxication are correct. However, just as any test may contain problems or inaccuracies, issues in the execution and assessment of field sobriety tests may result in innocent individuals facing serious drunk driving charges.
Once again, Tennessee motorists all across the state are in the midst of an enhanced drunk driving enforcement campaign.
In order for a Tennessee law enforcement official to make a drunk driving arrest they must first have probable cause to suspect that the individual is intoxicated and operating their motor vehicle. The officer may first believe that they have observed the individual driving their automobile in a manner that suggests intoxication, but once they make a stop they may need more evidence of intoxication in order to make an arrest. Field sobriety tests can provide them with the proof they need to make a drunk driving arrest.
We suspect that many readers of our criminal defense blog across Tennessee would quickly view as flawed the outcome of a police-citizen roadside encounter that occurred in another state.