Tennessee Implied Consent Law
What Is An Implied Consent Violation?
Under TCA 55-10-406 any person who drives a motor vehicle is deemed to have given consent to a test or tests for the purpose of determining the alcoholic content of that person's blood.
A law enforcement officer who requests that the driver of a motor vehicle to submit to either or both tests shall advise the driver that refusal to submit to the test will result in the suspension by the court of the driver's operator's license and can be charged with an implied consent violation.
As a licensed driver in Tennessee, you have implicitly consented to submit to breath testing if you are arrested on suspicion of the following:
- DUI (driving under the influence)
- vehicular assault
- aggravated vehicular assault
- vehicular homicide
- aggravated vehicular homicide
Implied Consent in Tennessee: Breath vs. Blood Tests
Separate procedures apply for administering breath and blood tests in Tennessee. Implied consent only applies to breath tests, and there are stricter standards if an officer is to mandate a blood test.
A breath test may be mandated based on:
- A driver’s “implied consent” to submit to breath testing
- A driver’s express consent to take a breath test
- A valid search warrant
- Incident to a lawful DUI arrest
- If an officer has probable cause that a driver has caused an accident while DUI, is driving under the influence with a minor under the age of 16 in the vehicle, or has committed a second or subsequent DUI offense.
A blood test may not be mandated based on implied consent. A blood test may be ordered based on:
- The driver’s explicit consent, along with a written waiver
- A valid search warrant
- Under exigent circumstances that allow a warrantless search
Additionally, a blood test of an unconscious or incapacitated person is only permitted with a warrant or if an exigency exists.
Blood or Breath Test Refusal for First Offense DUI
The police will issue another charge of violation of the implied consent charge. If you refuse to submit to a breath test after a DUI arrest, your license can be revoked for a period of one year. However, you may still apply for a restricted license that would allow you to drive under limited circumstances, such as going to and from work.
Defense for Implied Consent Violations in TN
An implied consent violation is a civil matter — not a criminal matter. You cannot go to jail for refusing a test. However, if you have also been charged with and convicted of DUI, you can go to jail for that. It is important to work with an attorney who can handle the civil and criminal components of your case. Our Nashville implied consent lawyers can identify options that may help you keep your license and keep you out of jail.
For more information that relates to your case, call (615) 265-6383.
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