Tennessee drivers that are convicted even of misdemeanor drunk driving charges may find it impossible to buy alcohol for several years afterward if a bill proposed by one state representative is successful. State Representative Bud Hulsey wants the licenses of people convicted of drunk driving to have a red strip put across them.
The strip will let retailers know not to sell alcohol to the person, and Hulsey's plan is for the ban on buying alcohol to last for three years. A person who does sell alcohol to someone with the red strip could face misdemeanor charges under the proposed bill.
State Representative Mike Locke, a friend of Hulsey's, was killed by a drunk driver when working on Hulsey's campaign. However, not everyone supports the bill. One liquor store owner points out that some people may want to purchase alcohol and have no intention of driving. They might be driven to the liquor store by a friend.
Even if Hulsey's bill is not successful, drunk driving charges can carry serious consequences even if they are misdemeanors. A person's ability to get to work and school could be affected by a license suspension. Some people's careers could be negatively affected by a drunk driving conviction. Other possible penalties include fines and jail time. One option for people faced with drunk driving charges is a plea bargain, which can help them avoid a trial if they plead guilty to lesser charges and for a less severe penalty. However, if the evidence against a person is not very compelling, another option is to plead not guilty and go to trial. For example, a Breathalyzer test might have been administered incorrectly. Furthermore, if law enforcement did not observe a person's rights, some evidence could be dismissed.