Tennessee DUI laws provide mandatory minimum sentences, and sentence enhancement factors, for those who are convicted. A DUI first offense carries a minimum sentence of 48 hours in jail and a $350.00 fine, among other things. This minimum sentence however can be increased in several ways. For example, if your blood alcohol level is 0.20% or higher, the minimum sentence is raised to 7 days, even on a first offense. For those charged with DUI with a minor in the vehicle, the minimum jail time is substantially increased to 30 days. Read on to understand the different sentence enhancements and criminal charges that can be brought against you.
A breathalyzer does not actually measure blood alcohol content or concentration, which would require a blood sample. There are big differences between the small handheld breathalyzers used in the field, and the larger devices at police stations. Small breathalyzers may justify an arrest, but may not be admissible evidence in court. So how does it work?
Seeing blue lights in your rearview mirror gives most people anxiety. Police officers need reasonable suspicion to stop and detain you, but Tennessee law also gives officers huge leeway in their "community caretaking" function when interacting with citizens. It is important to know your rights during any police encounter, especially when on the road, whether at a DUI checkpoint, or during a traffic stop.