If you are pulled over under suspicion of driving under the influence (DUI), you may panic and wonder what to do. Do you have to take a blood test? What happens if you don't? Knowing your rights and understanding the penalties associated with refusing blood alcohol testing is important for all Tennessee drivers.
Blood alcohol content
The legal standard for determining whether someone is driving under the influence (DUI) is the blood alcohol content (BAC). In Tennessee, the blood alcohol level where a driver is considered drunk is 0.08%; drivers with a BAC greater than 0.20% face additional penalties. Tennessee has a zero tolerance policy for drivers under the legal drinking age — those drivers 21 years and under may be charged with a DUI if their blood alcohol content is 0.02% or more.
Blood alcohol testing is typically a blood test. Often after an arrest for suspicion of DUI, officers will ask the suspect to submit to a blood test to determine BAC. This typically occurs at the jail.
Refusing a blood test
Implied consent laws are in effect in Tennessee, which requires individuals to submit to a blood test if charged with a DUI. While, by law, you are required to submit to these tests, law enforcement officers cannot physically force you to do so. You will, however, be penalized if you do not comply. If a driver refuses to submit to a blood test, the penalties are as follows based on whether it is your first or second offense:
- Refusing a blood test for the first time: driver's license is revoked for a period of one year
- Refusing a blood test for the second or third time: driver's license is revoked for a period of two years
First time offenders that refuse to submit to a blood test who were involved in an accident resulting in death or serious injury face stiffer penalties for refusing the test. If someone was seriously injured in the accident, the driver's license will be suspended for two years. If someone died in the accident, the driver's license will be suspended for a period of five years.
Facing a DUI charge? Our experienced Tennessee DUI lawyers can help
Tennessee has stiff penalties for driving under the influence (DUI). If you have been charged with a DUI, refused a blood test, or are a repeat offender, we can help. The experienced Tennessee DUI attorneys at Dotson & Taylor Attorneys at Law in Murfreesboro successfully navigate Tennessee's DUI laws to reach the best possible outcome in your case. To meet with a member of our team for a free consultation, contact our office at 615–890-1982 or online.