DUI and DWI Charges and How They Affect You

Being convicted of driving under the influence can have a drastic impact on an individual’s life. While alcohol use when driving is one of the primary reasons an individual can be arrested for the charge, impaired driving comes in other forms such as driving under the use of marijuana or other substances.

The primary method of reasonable suspicion detection for police officers now includes the driver's ability to respond to instructions and the ability to pass a field sobriety test. Those who fail could then be subject to urine or blood testing beyond a breath analysis check for alcohol impairment.

There are multiple classes of chemicals that could result in charges for driving under the influence, all of which are criminal cases, and having a criminal defense attorney will always be necessary for defense because a conviction could result in a jail term.

Alcohol Impairment

Charges stemming from the use of alcohol while driving is the conventional type of DUI most defendants receive, and this still continues to the primary chemical detected in the systems of those charged. The standard for proving impairment by Tennessee prosecutors is a .08 blood alcohol concentration reading from an analysis determined by a certified breathalyzer or chemical test.

Readings that register between .05 and .08 can still result in charges for reckless driving, and readings of .15 or higher can result in aggravated DUI enhancement of charges. A conviction for aggravated DUI for even a first offense can carry a considerable jail along with an increased fine and court requirement regimen, and it is always best to have an experienced DUI defense attorney.

Marijuana Impairment

The second most common type of impaired driving charge involves the use of marijuana. Even possession of marijuana in Tennessee is illegal, and many times a possession charge is also applied when the defendant or their vehicle is searched by investigating officers. Charges are typically applied based on odor and obvious impairment such as red eyes and slow movement.

While individuals being evaluated for driving under the influence of marijuana are required to successfully complete a field sobriety test, there is no method of accurately detecting the latency of marijuana metabolites at the time of the stop. Officers typically will request a urine analysis or a blood test, which could result in a DWI charge even when not impaired because the active ingredient in marijuana can remain in the body for a period of up to 30 days following usage.

This means that anyone who uses marijuana in the state of Tennessee and drives could be charged with a marijuana DWI at any point in time, and extended penalties could apply for any subsequent possession.

Narcotics Impairment

The final type of impaired driving charge stems from the use of narcotics, whether they are prescribed legally or the operator is under the influence without authorization. The most common of these could be hydrocodone because it is widely prescribed, but it does not produce a significant level of impairment in most cases.

Narcotics that produce a drowsy effect are more common, and they are much easier to detect by observance. There is no set standard for impairment as with alcohol, and any presence in the body could constitute a criminal driving offense or even a possession charge.

Driving under the influence is a very serious charge in Tennessee and prosecutors are serious about the application of this area of law. If you’ve been pulled over or charged with driving under the influence, turn to the experienced legal professionals at the Law Office of Joseph A. Fanfuzz in Johnson City.

Contact our firm today at (865) 896-9971 for aggressive representation.

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