One question I am asked is why does it take so long for the blood alcohol test to be reported. Here is the answer. Most of the blood alcohol samples are tested by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI). The TBI has three labs for 95 Tennessee counties. Once the blood specimen is drawn, it is the local law enforcement agency to get the sample to the TBI. It could spend days or weeks at the police department.It is usually taken to a drop box outside the lab.
When a Tennessee resident is suspected of driving under the influence of alcohol, it is necessary to ascertain the level of alcohol the individual has in his or her system at the time. Anyone with a blood alcohol level of .08 percent or above is considered to be legally intoxicated. Three different blood alcohol tests can be used to determine whether an individual is drunk -- they are the breath test, blood test and urine test.
Being pulled over and suspected of driving under the influence can be a disconcerting experience. Police officers will often put a driver through field sobriety tests. The tests that are used were developed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), and people here in Tennessee and elsewhere are often given the impression that they are infallible. However, that could not be farther from the truth.
The United States Supreme Court hands down many rulings that ultimately impact laws here in Tennessee and across the country. Recently, the court ruled that law enforcement officials are required to obtain a warrant in order to draw a blood sample, but do not need a warrant for a breath test. The question becomes whether that decision will affect whether Tennessee drivers can refuse to submit to blood alcohol tests.
When someone is suspected of driving while under the influence, requests to take a blood test can be common. While the results of blood alcohol tests can make a drunk driving case more difficult to challenge or dismiss in Tennessee, those results in no way mean an automatic conviction and can still be successfully challenged regardless of what level of alcohol intoxication a test may indicate. Anyone who is facing a DUI charge and whose case involves the results of blood alcohol tests may want to be aware of what aspects of the tests can lead to a successful challenge.
DUI charges can lead to penalties that are dependent on the number of times a person has been convicted of DUI. Other factors can possibly play a role and lead to an upgrade of charges or increased possible penalties. One factor that can impact DUI charges in Tennessee is if there are minor children in the vehicle at the time of the incident. Recently in Tennessee, a man was arrested for DUI while he had two children in his pickup truck with him.
Maintaining a "Chain of Custody" of a blood alcohol test is critical in a DUI case. I saw the importance of maintaining a chain of custody on a recent visit to the Rocky Mountain Lab. What is the chain of custody? The general rule is that the tangible evidence may be properly introduced either when identified by a witness or by the presentation of a unbroken chain of custody. The purpose of the chain of custody is to demonstrate that there has been no tampering, loss, substitution or mistake with respect to the evidence.
In Tennessee DUI cases , a blood alcohol amount can be reported in blood alcohol level or blood alcohol levels . In blood cases , the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation has to generate a report . It must contain the following information pursuant to Tennessee Code annotated 55-10-408 (b).
If the authorities suspect that a person was intoxicated at the time of an accident, charges against the accused can accrue quickly. It is important to ensure that the rights of the accused are protected in such cases, and those facing DUI charges should be fully aware of their rights.
A conviction for driving under the influence can result in license suspension, community service, heavy fines and jail time. However, the blood-alcohol tests used in Tennessee to convict those charged with DUI may not tell the whole story.