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What Are Tennessee’s Penalties for Driving After Using Drugs?

Posted on in DUI/DWI

Campbell County DUI defense attorney

Driving under the influence does not limit the “influence” to alcoholic beverages. In the state of Tennessee, a driver can be convicted of DUI if he or she has taken any type of intoxicating substance -- including marijuana -- prior to getting behind the wheel. Even those who take drugs legally for medical purposes can be charged with DUI if they cause a car accident with prescription medication in their systems. Furthermore, anyone who chooses to drive while under the influence of drugs must submit to a chemical and/or field sobriety test if pulled over. A driver is allowed to refuse these roadside tests, although this may result in being arrested on suspicion of DUI. Following an arrest, a driver will usually be asked to take a chemical blood alcohol test at the police station or through blood being drawn at a hospital, and refusal of these tests will result in a driver’s license revocation for at least one year.

Tennessee Law Against Drugged Driving

The more times a driver is convicted of a drug-related DUI, the more severe the penalties. If a driver is convicted more than three times, the subsequent offenses are charged as felonies that are punishable with fines, jail time, and loss of driving privileges. Sentences for a conviction include:

  • First offenders will be required to pay a fine of no more than $1,500 and have their license revoked for one year.

  • Second offenders will be required to pay a fine of no more than $3,500, serve a jail term of at least 45 days up to one year, and have their license revoked for two years. The Tennessee court system might also require the driver to participate in a drug treatment program.

  • Third offenders will be required to pay a fine of no more than $10,000, serve a jail term of at least 120 days up to one year, and have their license revoked for a period of six years.

  • Subsequent offenders will be charged with a Class E felony, pay a fine of no more than $15,000, serve a jail term of one year with a minimum of 150 consecutive days, and have their license revoked for eight years.

An offending driver can face other consequences if they cause danger to a minor passenger in the car, cause a car collision, or if they kill someone.

How Does Tennessee Regulate Drugged Driving?

Like many other states, Tennessee has random driving checkpoints that can pop up at any time and any place. They are not usually broadcasted, because then drivers could plan a different route to avoid having to go through the checkpoints. At these locations, police have the right to check each vehicle that comes through and make sure each driver is not under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Typically, a driver will be interviewed by an officer when he or she reaches the checkpoint and will be asked to show his or her driver’s license. If the police officer conducting the interview notices signs that the driver might be intoxicated, the officer will then ask the driver to perform a field sobriety test.

If any driver attempts to pass through a checkpoint without speaking to a police officer, the authorities have the right to perform a traffic stop on the vehicle in order to determine if the driver is impaired and is trying to avoid being caught.

Contact a Jacksboro, TN Criminal Defense Attorney

Driving under the influence of illegal substances can have serious consequences, especially for those drivers who have multiple prior offenses. A conviction of drunk or drugged driving can leave a negative mark on your record. Since this can have a significant impact on the rest of your life, you need to seek professional legal counsel. The lawyers of the Law Office of William F. Evans can investigate your case and make sure that any action by the police did not violate your rights. To schedule a free consultation with a Campbell County DUI defense lawyer, call our office today at 423-449-7980.

 

Sources:

https://norml.org/legal/item/tennessee-drugged-driving

https://duijusticelink.aaa.com/issues/detection/sobriety-checkpoints/

https://www.tn.gov/safety/publicsafety/duioutline.html

 

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