Garza Law Firm: Blood and Breath Tests

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Can I refuse a blood or breath test? Absolutely! Every citizen has the right to refuse these forms of chemical testing. That choice, however, is not without its consequences: the officer could charge you with Tennessee Code Annotated 55-10-406, commonly referred to as the Implied Consent law. The officer could also seek a search warrant which would allow them to blood test without your consent. 

Officers can apply for a search warrant when they have probable cause to believe that an impaired driving offense has occurred. When an officer seeks out a search warrant, that can open the door to a whole new set of legal defenses. The United States Supreme Court as well as many state courts and federal courts across the country have set very specific requirements for these warrants. The Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution gives citizens protection against illegal searches and seizures when an officer fails to meet those requirements. 

Likewise, the officer could charge you with a violation of Tennessee Code Annotated 55-10-406, Implied consent. When a person drives on the roads of Tennessee, they are giving their implied consent to submit to a blood or breath test should an officer request one due to a suspicion of DUI. If a person refuses a breath or blood test when there is a suspicion of DUI, an officer can give an implied consent charge. It is important to know that this is a civil charge, not a criminal one, but it has some serious consequences if you are found in violation of this statute. Penalties can include losing your driver’s license for a minimum of one year (and a maximum of five years, depending on your criminal history). It may also require you to get an ignition interlock device put on your car. 

Implied consent charges can also be used by the State to enhance your punishment on a DUI charge. An implied consent charge can only succeed under specific circumstances. An experienced DUI attorney will be able to guide you through a charge of Implied Consent as well as any defenses that might be applicable in your circumstance.

So, should I refuse a breath or blood test if offered to me? It depends on the facts and circumstances of your case. It may be in your best interest to refuse any chemical testing because it may provide additional defenses to your case. It is your right to refuse these tests. While it may seem scary to face the possibility of losing your driver’s license for a year, consenting to these tests risks closing the door to potential defenses to your case. That could make the difference between a DUI conviction or a dismissal. Should you find yourself on the receiving end of a DUI or an Implied Consent charge, the attorneys at the Garza Law Firm are here to help you. 

Garza Law Firm
550 W. Main Street, Suite 340
Knoxville, TN 37902

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