Checkpoints or traffic stops result in countless motorists facing driving under the influence (DUI) charges annually in Tennessee.
Unless a motorist knows someone who has been stopped on such an occasion, it’s unlikely that they’d know what happens during a DUI stop. Here’s what you can expect:
A DUI stop initially starts like any other stop by the police
You should pull over as soon as it’s safe to do so when the police car’s blue lights come on or police order you to do so at a checkpoint. Wait in your vehicle with your hands visible until a police officer approaches. Respectfully communicate with them and provide your driver’s license and registration when they request it.
When a DUI stop deviates from a typical traffic stop
You can expect the officer who approaches your car to ask if you know why they pulled you over and if you have been drinking. They’ll likely be watching closely to see how clearly you’re speaking and how fixed your focus is on them.
A police officer may ask you to step out of your vehicle if they sense that you may be intoxicated. They might then ask you to perform field sobriety tests. Your performance on these may give officers necessary probable cause to request that you submit to chemical breath testing.
Here in Tennessee, there’s an implied consent law in place. It means that you consented to allow police to perform a breath test in exchange for securing a Tennessee driver’s license. Your refusal to comply can result in facing criminal charges similar to if you had complied and your blood alcohol content exceeded Tennessee’s legal limit of 0.08%.
You can generally expect a law enforcement officer to either use a field breath test device or transport you to the police station or hospital to perform breath, urine or blood testing to determine if you’re indeed intoxicated.
Why you shouldn’t let your DUI charges stand without a fight
There are various defenses to drunk driving charges — even when your BAC comes in above the legal limit. The ones that may be best to utilize largely depend on how your traffic stop unfolded and what transpired after that.