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Tennessee DUI Legal Process

What Happens When You Get Your First DUI in Tennessee?

  • DUI Arrest in Tennessee - When you defend your DUI case, the first step is to determine whether the arrest was made in a lawful manner. The police officer must have probable cause to believe that you committed a crime. In most DUI cases, the evidence includes field sobriety tests and breathalyzer results. The police officer may believe you are under the influence and use this opinion as evidence at trial. Our attorneys may be able to have your charges immediately dismissed due to the improper collection of evidence or an unlawful arrest.
  • First Appearance in Court for Tennessee DUI Charges - The first appearance in court is also known as an arraignment. This is a hearing which provides you with the exact DUI charges you will be facing and requires you to enter a plea. The judge sets your bail at this hearing. At this point, an experienced attorney will be able to review the charges and work to have some of them reduced or eliminated based on improper arrest or lack of evidence. You may also request to have your bail lowered; however, it is best to allow an attorney to establish this for you. It is typically best to determine your defense strategy before your arraignment. This is helpful in resolving your case and providing a plea. If you handle the first appearance correctly, you might be able to avoid a DUI conviction.
  • General Sessions & Grand Jury for Tennessee DUI Defense Cases - The General Sessions court typically has jurisdiction over DUI cases in Tennessee. Many of the cases are resolved through a plea agreement so the case never needs to proceed to court. However, if a plea deal cannot be reached, the case will continue to a preliminary hearing or bench trial. The judge will determine whether there is probable cause to proceed with the case. If so, the case will go to a grand jury. The grand jury consists of a group of 13 citizens who review your case and decide whether there is enough probable cause to prosecute. At Best & Brock, PLLC, our DUI lawyers in Chattanooga can help you select the most advantageous method for having your Tennessee DUI defense case heard.

DUI Criminal Trial in Tennessee

If the case proceeds to criminal court, you will be provided another hearing and opportunity to enter a plea. You will have the chance to continue to resolve the case through a plea arrangement while the case moves forward. In a Tennessee DUI defense case, you have the right to a jury trial. To prepare for the trial there will be pre-trial motions where you will be able to learn the evidence against you. For example, there may be a police report, videos and other evidence which the prosecutor must reveal.

If you took a blood test, you are allowed to have your own independent tests completed. The evidence will assist in preparing your Tennessee DUI defense. During the trial, you will be allowed to present your own evidence in your defense of the charges.

This evidence can include:

  • Expert witnesses
  • Reports
  • Other documents

Sentencing & Penalties for DUI Charges In Chattanooga

If you are found guilty, the judge will impose a sentence which may include:

  • Fines
  • Jail time
  • Probation
  • Conditions

The sentence you receive depends on whether this is your first offense and whether anyone was injured. Probation may include mandatory requirements such as attending DUI classes and participating in community service. You can complete a mandatory alcohol program through a certified provider such as the Council for Alcohol and Drug Abuse Services (CADA).

You may also have your driving privileges revoked as a result of a DUI conviction. The length of time your license is suspended depends on the severity of the offense. Generally, at least a one-year suspension is required. In some instances, you may be allowed to have restricted driving privileges so you can drive to and from work.

Consult With Best & Brock, PLLC to Discuss Your Tennessee DUI Defense Case

There are two prosecution paths for DUI in Tennessee. Cases may be handled in criminal court or in General Sessions court. Fortunately, you can hire one of the Best & Brock, PLLC Tennessee DUI attorneys today to avoid convictions that will destroy your future.

If you have been arrested on DUI charges in Tennessee, you are probably terrified and unsure of what will happen next. With complex laws and penalties, it is important to understand how the legal process for DUI prosecution works. In the event that you are charged, you will need to defend yourself against charges by hiring an experienced advocate. The Chattanooga DUI lawyers at Best & Brock, PLLC have the experience and insights to help you protect your interests.

Dial (423) 829-1043 now and schedule your free consultation. You can also contact us online.

“This is our pledge:
To address your individual concerns as well as your legal issues. To answer all of your questions thoroughly and honestly as they come up. To aggressively defend your rights and interests to the best of our ability within the rules of ethics and the law.”

- Best and Brock
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