Chemical Testing for DUI in Tennessee
In Tennessee, a police officer may request a chemical test from an individual suspected of driving under the influence to determine the level of alcohol and drugs in their system. Chemical testing can be performed in two ways: blood draw and breath testing. However, before an officer may chemically test you, he must have reasonable cause to believe that you were driving under the influence. Blood tests are currently seen as the most accurate and reliable method of determining BAC level, however, you do not have the choice of which chemical test you would like to submit to (breath or blood). It is up to the police officer’s discretion which chemical test to administer.
It is unclear if and when a police officer can use physical force to submit a suspect to a chemical test. Thus if a chemical test was taken without your consent, it may be possible that such evidence cannot be used against you. However, under Tennessee statute, anyone with a driver’s license is deemed to have given consent to a chemical test to determine the level of alcohol or drugs in their system. State law does provide that you can refuse to submit to chemical testing, however, such refusal will violate Tennessee’s implied consent law and will result in a one-year drivers license suspension for the first refusal and a two-year driver’s license suspension for a second refusal.
If you do choose to submit to a chemical test, you are also entitled to request an independent test of your choice. However, the police officer is under no obligation to inform you of your right to an independent test. Further, you do not have the right to speak to an attorney before submitting to any chemical testing.
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