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New law stops extra penalties for refusing test for BAC level

Mothers Against Drunk Driving in Tennessee are up in arms about a new law that took effect on July 1. Up until then, any driver who refused a test to determine his or her blood-alcohol percentage would face additional charges. Following a ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court that it is unconstitutional to imply consent, the state was forced to decriminalize the refusal of a DUI suspect to submit to tests to determine his or her blood alcohol content level.

MADD claims a disregard of the rights of victims of DUI crashes in favor of drunk drivers. A member of the group, who is wheelchair bound after she was a victim of an accident that involved a drunk driver, says this change to the law will provide impaired drivers with escapes from facing all the consequences of drinking and driving. She maintains the driver that caused her life-changing injuries chose to drink and drive, and drunk drivers should not receive an easy way out.

Drunk driving laws in Tennessee and the other 49 states allow licenses of those refusing to consent to blood-alcohol tests to be revoked. However, offenders may not be given additional jail time or fines just because they refused tests. If drivers refuse consent, officers must obtain warrants to conduct blood tests. It was also noted that the state's failure to change this law would have resulted in potential losses of federal revenue.

Tennessee drivers who are accused of drunk driving have certain rights that may not be violated. One of those is the right to legal counsel. With the support and guidance of an experienced criminal defense attorney, any irregularities in procedures such as testing for the BAC level can be addressed. The lawyer can fight the charges and make sure the accused driver's constitutional rights are protected.

Source:, "Change in law affects DUI arrests," Stephanie Carson, July 19, 2017

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