Month: May 2017

Knoxville Tennessee DUI law attorney

What Penalties Might You Face for a Knoxville, Tennessee, DUI Charge?

Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol is a serious offense in Knoxville, Tennessee. The criminal and financial consequences are very serious and costly. In many cases, they follow you for a long time as you face higher insurance premiums, jail time, the potential loss of your job, and more. One thing that many first time offenders are surprised by is that jail time is mandatory for a DUI conviction. Further, the court costs, the steep fines, and the cost of alcohol or drug treatment can create a significant hardship. If you are facing a DUI charge, even if it is your first, you would be wise to contact a Knoxville, Tennessee, DUI defense lawyer as quickly as possible to mitigate the damage.

What Counts as Driving Under the Influence According to the Law in Knoxville, Tennessee?

When you think of DUI charges, you imagine a drunk driver. If asked to think of other potential situations involving DUI charges, it might occur to you to consider those who drive under the influence of illegal drugs. What most people fail to consider is that even legally prescribed medications could result in a DUI charge. Specifically, you cannot drive on public roads, on highways, in ordinary streets, or even alleys while impaired by any substance. This includes marijuana, narcotics, stimulants, prescriptions that cause impairment, and of course, alcohol.

Having said that, not all illegal drugs and prescription medications are as easy to measure as alcohol when you are suspected of driving under the influence. You could test positive for THC, proving that you have use marijuana, but this only proves that you used marijuana at some time within the past month or so. You might test positive for cocaine or amphetamines, but this only proves that you used it at some time within the past few days. With prescription medications, you may test positive for something like codeine or benzodiazepines, but these tests only reveal that you have taken such medications at some time within the past few days or even weeks.

Alcohol, on the other hand, can be measured through a blood alcohol content breathalyzer test or blood test. These tests can reveal if you are currently intoxicated. For this reason, your level of impairment may be subjective. Also for this reason, you should be very careful about what you say when you are pulled over on suspicion of driving under the influence. If you specifically state that you are impaired by the side effects of a prescription medication, then this may be used against you.

What to Expect from a DUI Conviction as a First Time Offender in Knoxville, Tennessee

While the consequences for a DUI conviction are much worse for repeat offenders, even if the previous offenses happened in another state, the consequences are still very serious for first time offenders. As a first time offender, a DUI conviction will involve mandatory fines of $350 to $1,500.

Also mandatory is the jail time that comes with such a conviction. You will have a mandatory minimum of 48 hours in jail, though it could be more than this. In cases where your BAC was higher than .20%, you will have a mandatory minimum of seven days in jail. Depending on your case, you could end up with a jail sentence of anywhere from two days to almost a full year (11 months, 29 days maximum).

Other consequences of a first time DUI conviction in Knoxville, Tennessee, include having your driver’s license revoked for one year, having to use an ignition interlock device when you get your license back (which requires you to use a breathalyzer before driving), and 24 hours of community service.

What to Expect From a DUI Conviction as a Second Time Offender in Knoxville, Tennessee

If you are convicted of a DUI for a second time in Knoxville, Tennessee, then your fines will be $600 to $3,500. Your jail sentence will be between 45 days and 11 months, 29 days. In some cases, you may be able to trade some jail time for some time in an inpatient drugs or alcohol treatment program. Your license can be revoked for two years for a second offense, and you may also have to forfeit your vehicle.

What to Expect From a DUI Conviction as a Third Time Offender in Knoxville, Tennessee

If you end up being convicted of a DUI charge for a third time in Knoxville, Tennessee, you can expect to pay fines between $1K and $10K. You will also have a mandatory minimum jail sentence of 120 days, though you could also face a sentence of 11 months, 29 days. Your license will be revoked for six years, and you are more likely to have to forfeit your vehicle.

What to Expect From a DUI Conviction as a Fourth Time Offender in Knoxville, Tennessee

Once you get to your fourth DUI charge in Knoxville, Tennessee, you can be convicted of a felony (Class E). This will involve a more serious criminal record, fines from $3K to $15K, and jail or prison time between 150 days and six years. Your license will be revoked for eight years, and you will probably have to forfeit your vehicle. Your incarceration will be followed by probation, community service, and counseling for drug or alcohol addiction. If anyone else was harmed through your behavior, then you will also have to pay the victims restitution for their damages.

The Barnes Law Firm Can Help You Get the Best Possible Outcome in Your DUI Case

If you are facing DUI charges in Knoxville, Tennessee, you want to have legal guidance and representation from an attorney who knows how get the best possible outcome for you. Working with an experienced Knoxville, Tennessee, DUI defense legal team can help you avoid conviction, minimize your charges, and potentially save you from a damaged reputation and further financial losses.  Call the Barnes Law Firm to learn more about how we can help you in your DUI defense.

DUI Defense law lawyer in Knoxville

Don’t Be Fooled By These Common DUI Myths in Knoxville, Tennessee

Tennessee is among the most strict states in the US when it comes to DUI charges. Yet, many people don’t realize how serious of a crime it is or how difficult it can be to successfully defend yourself against DUI charges in Knoxville, Tennessee. Today, we’re going to look at some of the most common myths and misconceptions that people frequently believe about driving under the influence and the impact that such charges can have on your life.

Myth: Your License Will Be Automatically Revoked if You Refuse a Blood Alcohol Test

When you get pulled over on suspicion of driving under the influence in Knoxville, Tennessee, the police officer will probably ask you to take a blood alcohol content (BAC) breathalyzer test. While refusing to do so could lead to such consequences, because it does look suspicious to a jury, your license is not automatically revoked based on your refusal to take the BAC test.

Myth: You Are Automatically Guilty if Your BAC is Over the Legal Limit to Driver

While this makes a lot of sense on the surface, the reality is that there are many situations in which you may not be found guilty of a DUI, even though your BAC was over the legal limit. For example, there may be questions about the legitimacy of the test, about the time between driving and the BAC reading, or about whether or not you were even actually driving while your BAC was over the limit.

Myth: You Do Not Need an Attorney if You Are Innocent of the Alleged Crime

This myth comes from the common assumption that justice will prevail. The truth is that people really do end up convicted of crimes that they did not commit, and it really could happen to you. If you are accused of and charged with a crime in which you are innocent, it is essential to have skilled legal representation to ensure that you do not end up suffering the consequences of something you didn’t really do. Never assume that justice will prevail without an effective legal defense.

Myth: Your First DUI Offense is Not Going to Be Punished Too Harshly

Your first DUI in Knoxville, Tennessee, may not result in the more severe penalties of repeat offenders, but the consequences are still going to be harsh. You should not assume that you will be more likely to win your case or that your case is not that big of a deal, just because it is the first time you have been charged with a DUI. Keep in mind that most DUI charges are first offenses and are taken seriously.

Myth: You Don’t Need to Hire an Attorney Because One Will Be Provided

In some cases, you can have an attorney provided, but you will have to qualify as indigent, meaning that you do not have the financial means to hire an attorney. If you don’t qualify, you will not be provided with an attorney. Further, if you do get a free or ‘pro bono’ attorney, he or she is likely to have a very large case load. Thus, you may not get the attention and prioritization that you need to win your case.

Myth: The Influence of Prescribed Medication Does Not Count as Driving Under the Influence

It is understandable why so many people make the mistake of believing that the effects of their prescription medications don’t qualify for a charge of driving under the influence. Unfortunately, this is not the case. Anyone who takes prescribed medications is legally responsible for knowing how the medication affects them and whether or not they are safe to drive. If your medication prevents you from driving safely, then you can be charged with a DUI.

Myth: Minors Will Not Face Serious Consequences for a Knoxville, Tennessee, DUI Charge 

Drivers who are between the ages of sixteen and eighteen often think that they will not face serious consequences for a DUI charge because they are minors. The truth is that minors are held to a higher standard of sobriety because they are not legally allowed to have any BAC at all. While adults can drive with a BAC that is lower than .08%, minors can be charged with a DUI with a BAC of .0002%.

Myth: A DUI is Less Expensive Without a Knoxville, Tennessee, DUI Defense Attorney

Although it can cost a lot of money to work with a skilled Knoxville, Tennessee, DUI defense attorney, you are far more likely to face serious fines and penalties without one. Further, you still have to address your court costs. Working with an attorney can be costly, but it is because of the work that goes into saving you from a criminal record, from higher insurance premiums, and even from jail time.

Your attorney ensures that your case is thoroughly investigated and that all facts are taken into account. Then, they do everything they can to get the best possible outcome for you. In many cases, your DUI defense attorney will accept credit cards, and they may also have a different rate for first offenses. It is difficult to say exactly what you will end up paying for legal representation without seeking a free consultation with a Knoxville, Tennessee, DUI defense attorney. Some lawyers may end up charging less than $2,000, while others may charge more than $10,000. It depends on the case and the lawyer. Contact the Barnes Law Firm to learn more about what it may cost to defend you.

Keep in mind that the expenses of a conviction are likely to greatly outweigh the cost of your criminal defense. Your attorney can help you avoid the cost of high risk auto insurance with SR-22. Your attorney can keep you from having a lengthy jail sentence. Your attorney can help you get your charges reduced or dropped. If you are innocent, then your attorney can help to ensure that you don’t end up paying for a crime you didn’t commit. The consequences of a DUI charge can follow you for life, and if you don’t work with a skilled DUI defense attorney in Knoxville, you are likely to regret it.