Leading Criminal Defense Attorneys in Hamilton County
Drunk driving or driving under the influence (DUI) charges do not discriminate. They happen to people of all ages from all walks of life, and for many people, this may be their first contact with the criminal justice system. While it can feel overwhelming to be charged with a crime, it is important to keep in mind that you are not alone, and having a skilled lawyer in your corner can provide you with the best chance of minimizing the potentially harsh consequences that can come with a DUI conviction in Chattanooga.
At the Law Offices of Meredith Mochel, we are dedicated to protecting the rights of people who have been charged with drunk driving in Tennessee or Georgia. We are prepared to help you build a strong defense against these charges.
Facing charges for drunk driving in Tennessee? Call our Chattanooga DUI attorney at (423) 250-1499 for the defense you need today.
Meredith got both charges dismissed and I only have to take a class. Thanks so much Meredith! You are the best!Lorrie C.
What Are the DUI Laws in Tennessee?
In Tennessee, it is considered driving under the influence (DUI) if a person is driving or in physical control of a vehicle while:
- Their blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is 0.08% or higher, or
- They are under the influence of alcohol, any other intoxicant, or a combination of alcohol and any other intoxicant to the extent that the person's normal faculties are impaired.
A person can also be charged with DUI if they are under the influence of a controlled substance, or if they refuse to submit to a chemical test to determine their BAC. It's important to note that it is illegal to drive with a BAC of 0.08% or higher in Tennessee, regardless of whether the person's driving is actually impaired. This is known as "per se" DUI.
Potential Penalties Include:
- Jail time
- Loss of your driver’s license
- Increased insurance premiums
- Steep fines
What Are Some Examples of Enhanced DUI Penalties in Tennessee?
DUI enhancement or enhanced DUI charges refers to the types of penalties that intoxicated drivers may face if their actions result in a particularly catastrophic event. For example, in Tennessee there are more severe penalties for the following:
- Vehicular Assault - If you cause serious injury to someone else while driving impaired you may face 2-12 years in prison, up to $5,000 in fines, and may have your license revoked for 1-5 years
- Vehicular Homicide - If you cause another person’s death while driving intoxicated, you may face 8-30 years in prison, up to $25,000 in fines, and have your license revoked for 3-10 years
- Aggravated Vehicular Homicide - If you kill another person while driving drunk and have at least two prior DUI convictions, you may face 15-60 years in prison and a fine of up to $50,000
- DUIs with Minors - If you receive a DUI charge while driving with a minor (someone under 18) in the car, you may also receive enhanced DUI penalties
What Is the Implied Consent Law in Tennessee?
Many states, including Tennessee operate under an “implied consent” law. This law assumes that all drivers on Tennessee roadways agree to submit to a breath test if they are ever arrested for DUI. There is one caveat for this law: the arresting officer must have had probable cause to pull you over and request that you take the test. Violation of the implied consent law occurs when a driver refuses to take a lawfully-requested breath test. The penalty for refusing to take a lawfully-requested breath test is suspension or restriction of your driver's license for a year or more.
What Happens When You Get a DUI in Tennessee?
With so much at stake, these charges need to be taken seriously. Defenses are available, even if your BAC was measured as being over the legal limit to drive. Machines are prone to both mechanical and human error. The police may not have even had the right to make a traffic stop in the first place. You can rest assured that our DUI attorneys in Chattanooga will challenge the evidence against you at every turn while fighting to protect your freedom and your driving privileges.
How Can You Get a DUI Dismissed?
Just because you have been charged with DUI and the prosecutors claim to have evidence supporting the charges, that doesn’t mean that you can’t still challenge the DUI evidence. There are a number of reasons why you could challenge a DUI charge:
- If you believe that the arresting officer did not have reasonable cause to stop you and ask you to take a breath test, you may be able to have the charges dismissed due to unlawful arrest.
- You may be able to challenge the results of the breathalyzer test if you believe that it wrongfully indicated that you were intoxicated.
- If you believe that the arresting officer did not inform you of the consequences of refusing a breath test, you may also have grounds to have the charges dismissed.
What Are Your Rights If You Are Arrested for DUI?
If you have been arrested for DUI, you still have rights, and violation of these rights could mean that the case against you must be thrown out. If you are pulled over or arrested for DUI, you have the right to the following:
- You have the right to not answer incriminating questions beyond giving the officer your name, license, registration, and insurance information. For example, if the officer asks you how much you have had to drink, you do not have to answer. This is also known as your Miranda rights.
- You have the right to deny permission for the officer to search your car. Even if you were driving under the influence, this does not automatically give the officer the right to search your vehicle. You have the right to say no.
- You have the right to call an attorney. After being arrested you have a right to make a phone call to an attorney and request that they be present during any interviews or interrogations.
Knowing your rights is one of the best ways to ensure that they are not infringed upon.
If you believe that your rights were in some way violated when you were arrested for DUI, you can call (423) 250-1499 today to speak with our DUI attorneys in Chattanooga.
DUI Training & Organizations:
- DUIDLA - DUI Defense Lawyers Association
- NCDD - National College of DUI Defense
- SFST Training (standardized field sobriety training) - a 40-hour course officers must take to get certified in administering field sobriety training
- ARIDE (Advanced Roadside Impairment Driving Enforcement) - an advanced law enforcement course on the detection of drug impairment
Practicing in East Tennessee & North Georgia Counties
- Hamilton County
- Marion County
- Bradley County
- McMinn County
- Franklin County
- Catoosa County
- Walker County
- Whitfield County
- Dade County
- Gordon County
If you've been arrested for DUI, don't face your charges alone. Turn to our Chattanooga DUI lawyer for defense by contacting us today.
- Clear Communication from Start to Finish
- Experienced Litigators Fighting for You
- Effective Counsel with Proven Results
Our attorney is certified by the National Highway Traffic & Safety Administration (NHSTA) in the administration of standardized field sobriety tests. This training provides us with additional insight into ensuring that your defense is as thorough as possible. To learn more, call our law offices in Chattanooga. You may also contact us online.