From time to time, even the most law-abiding citizens can find themselves in difficult situations. During these times it is essential for people to know their rights and to know the steps to take in order to ensure that they do not make their situation more difficult. This is particularly true for those individuals who find themselves pulled over for DUI. If someone is pulled over for suspicion of DUI, it is critical to know how to handle the encounter with the police and what to do should they find themselves in that position.
First and foremost, it is not illegal to consume an alcoholic beverage and drive. However, just because someone may not feel drunk does not mean that they are able to safely operate a vehicle. In other words, your tolerance and how you feel does not indicate that you are able to drive effectively. A person’s blood alcohol level is not subjective; the amount of alcohol present in the bloodstream is the determining factor. In the state of Tennessee, a blood alcohol level greater than 0.08 classifies the operator of the vehicle as under the influence. It is worth noting that the blood analysis performed by the TBI is not always without flaw. It is important to speak with an attorney who is knowledgeable about this process.
However, if you make a poor decision and are pulled over, it is imperative to know how to handle the situation. As is the case with any encounter with the police, it is important to be courteous. Do not talk back, be hostile, be argumentative, or treat them with any disrespect. You should also keep your hands on the wheel so that the officer or officers can know that you are not reaching for a weapon of some kind.
Additionally, should you be pulled over, you should have your driver’s license and proof of insurance. Failure to have these items can add additional Class C misdemeanor charges with penalties. In fact, regardless of the circumstances, you should always have your license and insurance when you are driving.
If pulled over, there are some things to keep in mind. As in any situation, you have the right to remain silent. You also have the right to refuse a breathalyzer and a blood test. Although these tests are not mandatory, it is common for officers to get a warrant and force a mandatory blood draw. Even if an officer does not get a warrant, the offender can be charged with implied consent for refusing the test. If taken to the police station, people must know that it is not their right to immediately have their lawyer present. There is a booking process that takes place and, without an interrogation, a lawyer is not required to be there.
Obviously, the best way to prevent an encounter with police for DUI is to simply avoid drinking and driving altogether. However, it is possible that people with no prior history of criminal behavior or poor decision making can have a lapse in judgment. If you are in the greater Chattanooga, Tennessee area and you find yourself in an unfamiliar position, it is crucial to remember that there are options available to you. The law offices of Best and Brock are here to walk you through the process. While it may be your first time dealing with a DUI, our team has the knowledge and experience needed to help you navigate a difficult situation.