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Thursday, January 12, 2012

Can the Police Force me to take a Blood Test for DUI?

Can the police FORCE you to take a Blood test when suspected of Driving Under the Influence (DUI)?
The answer to that question used to be "no", with very few limited exceptions… But, beginning January 01, 2012, the law in Tennessee has changed with regard to compelled chemical tests.  This new law expands the exceptions and creates more circumstances under which the police may "require" you to submit to a chemical test to determine the drug or alcohol content of your blood.  

Beginning January 1, 2012, an officer may REQUIRE a chemical test when the officer has probable cause to believe the citizen has committed a violation of DUI, Vehicular Homicide by Intoxication, or Aggravated Vehicular Homicide, ... AND (one of the following three criteria applies):
1.  The suspect was involved in an accident causing injury or death to another (allowed even under the old law);
2.  The suspect has previously been convicted of DUI, Vehicular Homicide by Intoxication or Aggravated Vehicular Homicide   (new); OR
        3.  The suspect has a passenger in the vehicle who is a child under the age of sixteen (16). (new).

T.C.A. 55-10-406(f) - amended by 2011 Public Chapter No. 307.  Effective January 1, 2012

What this means for you?
If you have a previous DUI in Tennessee… you could be "forced" to give a blood sample if you are pulled over, and investigated for DUI again.  It is important to note that the new law does not include any "look-back" period for the "prior" conviction(s).  Therefore, according to the way the law is written… you could be forced to give a sample even if the DUI was 20 years ago, and not otherwise admissible against you for sentencing purposes.  For the purpose of forcing a chemical test…any prior conviction would trigger the new law. But... according to the wording of the law, in Tennessee, the prior conviction(s) that trigger the law, must be "Tennessee" convictions.  A conviction in another state would not trigger this new law.

This is a VERY significant change in the law.

As a former police officer myself, I have often been asked whether or not it was a good idea to take the blood or breath test if stopped by an officer and requested to do so.  This law makes that question a moot point if you have prior DUI offenses. The only time you have a choice now, is if it is a first offense. And, even then, NOT if you were to have a child under the age of 16 in the car with you.

The best practice, as always,… Don't drink and drive!

But, if you find yourself charged with a DUI in Nashville… you should have the best Nashville DUI lawyer you can find.  

You should contact David G. Ridings, Nashville DUI Attorney.   

Get the representation you deserve, from someone with experience you can't get from a book!

Contact Ridings Law Group, P.C. today for a free consultation.

David G. Ridings, Nashville Criminal Attorney

Office:  615-851-1888


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