Driving under the influence of alcohol or narcotics is a very serious charge. Convictions can result in jail time, increased insurance premiums, license suspension, and other consequences. In DUI cases, experienced Tennessee lawyers will focus on whether the police had grounds to stop you. If the stop was legitimate, they will contest the validity of any field sobriety tests and any chemical tests such as breathalyzer tests.
The whole process from the time of the arrest to the criminal trial, plea, or dismissal can be quite upsetting. Skilled lawyers help guide defendants through each stage of the arrest, the preliminary hearing, and the court proceedings.
How the police proceed if the police believe you did drive while under the influence
If you were injured in an accident and police suspect DUI, the police will arrange to take you to a hospital. While at the hospital, the police will often try to take a blood sample. Depending on the evidence, sometimes once you are released from the hospital, you will need to be processed at the police station. However, often police will wait on blood result to bring official charges.
Non-injured arrestees will be driven to the local police station or a sheriff’s office to be processed. Processing typically involves:
- Being asked to take a chemical test if you didn’t take one at the site of the arrest. If police suspect you were driving under the influence, you will likely be asked to give a breath or blood sample. If you refuse to take these tests, the police should advise you of the consequences.
- Being questioned. The police can question you about what you were doing before the arrest such as how many drinks you had. Anyone who is arrested should generally ask to speak to an experienced DUI defense lawyer. They also should say they wish to remain silent.
- Fingerprint processing. The police will take your fingerprints. It is likely they will then run the fingerprints through a database to see if you have any prior arrests or warrants.
- Be placed in the local jail. Defendants will normally be placed in the jail until the processing is complete. Police may keep you longer – until they are convinced you are sober. Whether you are released the same day or the next day often depends on the time of the arrest. If you are arrested late at night, you may be detained until the next morning.
A bail will be set, and you will be given a date for an arraignment where the court will ask whether you want to hire counsel. In Sevier County, if you hire counsel beforehand, the attorney can waive your arraignment.
A note about being questioned
Generally, once you are arrested for a DUI, you can invoke your Miranda rights. This means you can remain silent, refuse to answer questions, and request an attorney. Understand that if an officer doesn’t “read you your rights” after a DUI stop, it may not have any bearing on your case at all. (Use of Miranda in a custodial interrogation is complex, so make sure to tell us exactly what happened, in case there is a way to suppress your statements).
It’s important to contact a skilled Sevierville DUI defense lawyer as soon as possible. At Delius & McKenzie, PLLC, will explain your rights and the court process. We’ll immediately work to suppress any evidence that was improperly obtained or that isn’t valid. We’ll work to show the police shouldn’t have stopped you. Our DUI defense lawyers have been helping defendants in Sevierville, Seymour, Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, and the surrounding Tennessee areas assert their rights in court for two decades. To speak with an experienced DUI lawyer, call us at (865) 428-8780 or fill out our contact form to schedule an appointment.