Safely Operating a Motor Vehicle
The largest source of contention among defense attorneys and prosecutors is whether the driver is impaired. Obviously, if someone has a high blood alcohol level, then they will likely be found guilty. However, there may be an instance where the State of Tennessee does not have a blood sample. What happens in those cases?
The answer partly depends on the reason for the stop. In most of these cases, the law enforcement officer will have a copy of a video, which will show the entire stop. The reason for the stop determines whether you could be considered impaired. Under Tennessee jury instructions, intoxication means that a person is too impaired to safely operate a motor vehicle. Why were you stopped:
- Were you speeding?
- Did you have a taillight or headlight out?
- Were you swerving into other lanes of traffic?
- Did you have expired registration?
- Did you run a stop sign or red light?
These are the basic reasons someone is stopped and later arrested for DUI. However, only a few of these examples may be evidence that someone is too impaired to safely operate a motor vehicle. Speeding and having a headlight out does not constitute bad driving. Your attorney could argue that there was no impairment beyond your ability to safely operate a motor vehicle. However, if you were swerving or running red lights, then the State of Tennessee could argue that you were not operating your vehicle in a safe manner. Therefore, the reason for the traffic stop is extremely important in these cases. You need to hire an attorney that is aware of these issues, then you can make a more informed decision about your case.