Tennessee law enforcement officers are required to follow very specific rules before they can arrest someone for suspicion of drunk driving. Additionally, new rules require them to go through a special process when seeking a blood test from a suspect. If these laws are not properly followed, evidence may be suppressed at any subsequent hearing based on drunk or drugged driving.
Blood Test Provisions
Tennessee law requires that a law enforcement officer have consent from the operator of the motor vehicle who is suspected of drunk driving or have a valid search warrant. The consent must be specific. The implied consent that allows an officer to get a breath sample from a suspect by virtue of him or her being licensed in the state is not sufficient to establish the consent under the law. Instead, the motorist must sign a specific waiver for this purpose.
The written waiver is provided under the law. It specifically states the following:
- The suspect knowingly and voluntarily consents to have his or her blood withdrawn and tested by law enforcement or medical personnel
- The suspect knowingly and voluntarily waives his or her right for law enforcement secure a search warrant
- The suspect understands testing may require using a needle to take the blood sample
- The suspect understands that the results of the blood test may be used against him or her in a criminal, civil or administrative proceeding
If the motorist refuses to sign this form, law enforcement can only procure a blood sample by receiving a valid search warrant.
The requirements to get a breath sample from a person suspected of driving in an impaired state are not as restrictive as they are for procuring a blood sample. Law enforcement may request the breath sample from the motorist or may get a sample subject to a lawful arrest. The motorist may consent to the breath test. The motorist is required to provide the sample based on Tennessee's implied consent law. If the motorist refuses to provide the breath sample, the law enforcement officer is required to explain that refusing the breath test is a violation of the implied consent law and will subject him or her to related punishments, such as the loss of driving privileges or having to install an ignition interlock device depending on their criminal history. If this warning is not given to the suspect at the time of refusal, these penalties cannot be imposed on the suspect.
Contact a skilled Murfreesboro DUI lawyer when facing driving under the influence charges
Our Murfreesboro DUI lawyers are well-versed in all aspects of DUI charges and Tennessee law. We know the tactics that law enforcement officers may use to trick you into consenting to these tests. If you were not given a written consent form to sign before your blood was withdrawn or you were not giving a warning pursuant to the implied consent law, it is important that you talk to an experienced criminal defense lawyer. We will discuss the circumstances of your traffic stop and find arguments to have your charges dismissed or reduced. Contact us online or call us at 615-890-1982 to schedule a confidential consultation with one of our knowledgeable DUI lawyers.