The annual "Booze It & Lose It" campaign recently got underway on Aug. 19 here in Tennessee. Numerous local law enforcement agencies team up with the Tennessee Highway Safety Office to increase police presence on the roadways in order to discourage and stop people from driving under the influence. Between now and Labor Day, DUI charges could rise across the state and the nation.
Tennessee participates in the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's nationwide campaign in an attempt to lower the number of alcohol-related fatalities in the state. In all of 2015, crashes involving a drunk driver cost 239 people their lives. So far in 2016, 118 people have already suffered the same fate.
Even if there is no loss of life, a conviction for driving under the influence can be costly. The possible penalties include jail time and upwards of $10,000 in fines, attorney's fees and other costs. In addition, an individual could be ordered to obtain drug and alcohol treatment and/or to have an ignition interlock device put into his or her vehicle. The consequences only increase if there is a crash involved in which serious injuries or death occur.
Just because an individual is pulled over on suspicion of driving under the influence does not mean he or she has no rights, however. Tennessee prosecutors will still have to prove any DUI charges beyond a reasonable doubt in court. Field sobriety tests are notoriously unreliable, breath test machines used in the field are often faulty and evidence can be mishandled. These are just some of the reasons why anyone arrested during this campaign -- or any other time of the year -- should enlist the help of criminal defense counsel as soon as possible.
Source: timesfreepress.com, "East Ridge police increasing DUI enforcement ahead of Labor Day holiday", Aug. 16, 2016