Uber and Lyft DUI Defense Lawyer in Knoxville, TN
Knoxville DUI Defense Lawyers Defending Uber & Lyft Drivers Accused of Drunk Driving
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If you are a rideshare driver for a service such as Uber or Lyft, the consequences of a DUI can be drastic. In addition to fines, fees, community service, jail time, and an ignition interlock, you could also lose your employment as a rideshare driver. This is why it is so important to consult with an experienced DUI attorney as soon as possible. Call Barnes Law at 865-805-5703. We fight hard to protect the legal rights of all DUI defendants.
The Collateral Consequences of a DUI Conviction
One of the most immediate consequences of a DUI is the suspension of your driver’s license. This is an administrative process that happens through Driver Services, and it is completely independent of the criminal court case process. First-time offenders are subject to a one-year license suspension.
A second DUI conviction results in a two-year suspension, a third conviction causes a six-year suspension, and fourth and subsequent convictions result in your license being suspended for eight years. These suspensions occur automatically upon a DUI conviction. While you might qualify for a restricted license during that time, this is not guaranteed.
You must, of course, have a valid driver’s license in order to drive for any rideshare company. But even when your license is reinstated, you may not be able to work for Uber or Lyft. Most rideshare companies will not take drivers who have a recent DUI on their driving record. (Typically the DUI must be at least seven years old, though this figure varies.) A DUI can, therefore, cause you to lose your employment as a rideshare driver – regardless of the status of your driver’s license.
Even if you are eventually able to drive for Uber or Lyft again, you might find that your insurance premiums are prohibitively expensive. There is almost no way of avoiding significant increases to your auto insurance after a DUI conviction. The conviction will be reported on your driving record, and every insurance company will have access to that information (and factor it in calculating your premiums).
Some states will even require a bond as proof of financial responsibility. This comes in the form of an SR-22 bond issued by your insurer to the state. In some cases, you might actually have to put down a bond as surety against auto accidents, rather than simply paying an insurance premium. Insurance issues can become highly complicated after a DUI. It is important to mitigate these consequences by having an experienced DUI attorney review your case before the conviction goes on your driving record.
How an Experienced DUI Attorney Can Attack the Case Against You
So how can an attorney fight DUI charges against you? There are many legal defenses that might be available to you. A good DUI lawyer will carefully examine these questions:
Were you stopped lawfully?
An officer must have a valid reason for stopping your vehicle. If not, any evidence obtained at that stop cannot be used against you. Many DUI charges are dismissed for this reason. The reason could be a traffic violation:
- Running a red light
- A burned-out tail light
- Failing to signal
- Any other traffic violation, no matter how minor
An officer also has a legal reason to pull you over if he or she observes any suspicious driving behavior. Swerving, driving too slow or fast, driving without headlights at night, and other similar behaviors can be indicative of impaired driving. Courts have allowed officers to pull suspects over for these reasons.
Was the evidence against you lawfully gathered?
The Fourth Amendment protects drivers from illegal searches and seizures. This means that an officer must get a warrant before searching your vehicle or seizing evidence to use against you (such as breathalyzer test results or blood for testing). This warrant can only be issued by a judge if the officer proves he or she has probable cause to believe a crime (DUI) has occurred. There are some important exceptions to the warrant requirement. If they apply, an officer can search your vehicle or seize evidence without a warrant.
One of the most important exceptions is consent. If a driver allows an officer to search his or her vehicle, then no warrant is required. It is important to understand that you have the right to say no to a request to search your vehicle. Consent has another important application under Tennessee law.
Like other states, Tennessee statutes have created implied consent for blood and breath testing. Any driver who uses the public roads of this state has given implied consent for his or her blood to be tested for drugs or alcohol. (See Section 55-10-406 of the Tennessee Code.) No warrant is required, and a refusal to submit to blood or breath tests can result in your driver’s license being suspended.
Is the officer telling the truth?
Most law enforcement officers are upstanding citizens who perform their work with integrity. This does not, however, mean that officers testify with one hundred percent accuracy at every DUI trial. Sometimes this is an honest lapse in memory. Other times, it is a more intentional effort to secure a conviction.
In either case, a defendant has the right to confront all the evidence against him. This includes the validity of testimony of all witnesses – including law enforcement officers. Unfortunately, some prospective jurors do not believe that an officer could ever lie under oath.
An experienced DUI attorney can find these opinions during the voir dire process (in which attorneys ask questions to prospective jurors to ensure they can be fair and impartial in considering all the evidence).
Call Us Today to Schedule a Free Consultation with an Uber & Lyft Driver DUI Defense Lawyer in Knoxville
As you can see, Uber and Lyft drivers face a wide range of serious consequences as a result of DUI charges. It is important to protect your constitutional rights at every step of the criminal case process, so you are not convicted unfairly. At Barnes Law, our experienced Knoxville DUI attorneys know how to resolve DUI cases as favorably as possible under the circumstances. Call 865-805-5703 today to schedule your free consultation.
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"John is amazing not only did he get the outcome he promised he did it in a shorter time than he originally said. He went above and beyond in returning my emails and phone calls. John and staff truly cared about me as a person. I highly recommend John Barnes."
"I would highly recommend Mr. Barnes to everyone & I would definitely contact Mr. Barnes if I or anyone in my family should ever need an attorney again:) They were all very professional, friendly & treated our case with importance:) Mr.Barnes got my son’s DUI dropped to reckless driving so I would definitely recommend him to everyone!!!!!!!"
"Mr. Barnes and his staff are amazing. I can’t imagine anyone doing a better job with my case. At no point in the long process was I disappointed in any way with how things were handled."