Even though convictions for driving under the influence remain on a person's record, any of them over 10 years old are not allowed to be used in court in Tennessee. This means that an individual who is arrested for DUI now could be treated as a first-time offender if it has been at least 10 years since his or her last conviction. It provides people with a second chance of sorts -- unless current charges include vehicular homicide.
For instance, a woman was recently arrested and charged with several crimes, including the death of a man she allegedly struck and killed. When her criminal record was reviewed, it was discovered that she has been convicted of driving under the influence seven times since 1986. Under ordinary circumstances, any of those convictions that occurred over 10 years ago would not be a factor in the current charges she is facing.
However, she might fall within the exception because of the vehicular homicide charge, which means that her entire criminal history can be divulged to the court. The woman admitted to hitting the man, but told police that she was not intoxicated. Reportedly, she refused to submit to a blood test. Police suspect that she was impaired, which is reflected by the charges she faces.
Regardless of whether her criminal record will be a factor in the current charges, including the vehicular homicide charge, this woman retains the right to be presumed innocent. It will be up to Tennessee prosecutors to prove the woman's guilt beyond a reasonable doubt to the court. Her criminal defense team will be responsible for ensuring that her rights are protected throughout the process, which could include attempting to keep her criminal record from influencing the outcome of the case.
Source: wreg.com, "Memphis woman charged with killing pedestrian has previous DUI convictions", George Brown, June 17, 2016