Policeman Giving a Breathalyzer to A Driver


Fisher Wise Dec. 21, 2021

As a DUI defense attorney in Chattanooga, I often hear people ask, “Should I fight my DUI?” People ask this question when they are not aware of the criminal penalties for DUI and other severe consequences that may adversely affect their personal and professional lives for years to come.

There is a common belief that it is not worth fighting traffic violation charges because accepting the charge and paying the fine may save you more time and energy than fighting it. However, DUI charges are different. A DUI conviction can result in the revocation of your driver’s license and even confiscation of your vehicle, not to mention hefty fines and possible jail time.

If you or someone you care about is facing DUI charges in Tennessee, reach out to a criminal defense attorney to discuss your strategy for fighting the charge. As an experienced attorney at the Law Offices of Fisher Wise, I assist clients with fighting DUI charges in Chattanooga, Soddy-Daisy, Red Bank, East Ridge, and all surrounding counties, including Sequatchie County, Rhea County, and Marion County.

Possible Penalties for DUI in Tennessee

To understand why it is worth fighting DUI charges, you need to be aware of the possible penalties associated with DUIs in Tennessee. First and foremost, Tennessee courts impose mandatory jail time for everyone who gets caught driving with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08% or higher. Even first-time DUI offenders can expect to spend at least 48 hours in jail.

Possible penalties for DUI in Tennessee depend on multiple factors, including the number of prior convictions for DUI, the BAC level at the time of the arrest, and the circumstances of the offense. In addition to jail time, which ranges from 48 hours to 365 days, and fines, which can be between $350 and $15,000, a conviction might result in the following penalties:

  • Revocation of your driver’s license

  • Installment of an ignition interlock device

  • Mandatory alcohol and drug treatment program

  • Confiscation of your vehicle

Enhanced penalties may also apply if the offender is guilty of vehicular assault, vehicular homicide, or aggravated vehicular homicide.

People convicted of DUIs may face other severe repercussions. A DUI conviction can result in higher insurance premiums and make it difficult to get a job. In some cases, it is not possible to avoid a conviction for DUI. However, that does not mean that it is not worth fighting a DUI charge. It may still be possible to get the charge reduced or dropped—or strive for alternative sentencing.

Defenses for a DUI Charge

There are many defenses available to people facing DUI charges. Which defense is applicable in your specific situation depends on the circumstances of your case. Common defenses for DUI charges in Tennessee include:

  1. Erroneous breath testing. Breath testing machines sometimes fail to produce accurate results. Common reasons to challenge the accuracy of a breath test include malfunction of the machine, calibration errors, improper handling by the police, and others.

  2. False positive results. The vast majority of breath testing machines used by law enforcement fail to tell the difference between ethyl and isopropyl alcohol. The latter is produced by the body due to certain medical conditions and diets.

  3. Inaccurate blood tests. If the police test your blood to measure the level of impairment, the results may be inaccurate due to contamination or improper storage of the blood sample.

  4. Lack of probable cause. Police officers must have probable cause to stop vehicles. If there was no probable cause to stop you, your DUI case might be tossed from court.

  5. Symptoms of intoxication caused by something else. Common signs of intoxication, such as bloodshot or watery eyes and other symptoms, may be attributed to something else, including fatigue, allergy, emotional distress, and other conditions.

Getting the Experienced Legal Guidance You Need

As you can see, fighting a DUI is critical. However, not everyone understands how to beat a DUI in Tennessee. If you were charged with driving under the influence in Chattanooga, Tennessee, or surrounding areas, consider contacting the Law Offices of Fisher Wise. As a DUI defense attorney, I help clients pursue effective and successful legal defenses against DUI charges.