By Jedidiah McKeehan
One of the weirdly titled laws in Tennessee is the, “Implied Consent” statute. What in the world is implied consent?
Implied consent means that by operating a vehicle on the roadways of Tennessee you have “implied your consent” to have your blood tested for the presence of drugs or alcohol if you are ever pulled over on suspicion of driving under the influence (DUI).
The entire language of the implied consent statute can be found at Tennessee Code Annotated section 55-10-406. It is a lengthy law and it goes into great detail about how the implied consent law works.
Interestingly, you do not face jail time if you are found guilty of violating the implied consent law. The punishment for violating this law is primarily that you will lose your driver’s license for one year. So if someone is charged with both a DUI and the implied consent law and the DUI charge is dismissed, someone could still lose their driving privileges for a year if they are found guilty of violating the implied consent law.
The implied consent law has a great deal of specific requirements as to how it works. For example, the officer has to read you a lengthy form about the possible consequences of refusing to give blood and the defendant has to sign a form stating they are refusing to give blood. Further, in some instances (if there is a car wreck, or someone is killed in the accident), then the defendant does not have the choice to refuse to have their blood tested. It is required that their blood be tested for the presence of drugs or alcohol.
Most criminal defense attorneys (although not all) advise individuals that if they are pulled over and you know they are drunk, refuse to have their blood tested even though that means they will have another charge. The rationale for this advice is, if their blood gets tested and it comes back reflecting that their blood alcohol level was above the legal limit, then they have made the prosecutor’s DUI case very easy for them to win.
Jedidiah McKeehan is an attorney practicing in Knox County and surrounding counties. He works in many areas, including divorce, custody, criminal, and personal injury. Visit attorney-knoxville.com for more information about this legal issue and other legal issues.