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Common Misconceptions About Being Charged with a DUI in Tennessee

Most people when they first begin to look for DUI lawyers and information on the subject are emotionally distraught.  They are confused, angry, embarrassed, and even sometimes feel hopeless.  These emotions are to be expected, and they merely mean that you are like most others facing a pending DUI charge in Knoxville, Tennessee.  Going through the actual act of being arrested is a terrible experience to handle.  Remember that all these feelings are normal, and fearing the unknown is natural following an arrest.  Fortunately, there are attorneys available to talk to that understand all the legal jargon and are non-judgmental.  Our attorneys at Barnes Law are here to help you and your loved ones deal with your DUI charge.  We are here to not only help guide you through the complicated legal process of a DUI case, but also to help alleviate some of your worries and anxiety that come along with these type of situations.

If you have recently been arrested and charged with a DUI or DWI in the state of Tennessee, then it is imperative to understand the possible ways to fight your charges.  Driving under the influence charges in the state of Tennessee are grave matters, and you need to react promptly following your arrest to give you the best chance to beat your DUI case.  If you were recently arrested for a DUI charge and it is your first offense, there are some preventative steps that you can take to avoid the Ignition Interlock Device (IID) and the high price tag that goes along with it.

A common misconception about being charged with a DUI in Tennessee is that you are automatically found guilty if you fail the breathalyzer or the roadside sobriety field tests.  There is always room for human error when operating breathalyzer machines and giving field sobriety tests.  There have been multiple cases fought where the officer’s error or mistakes have been revealed, and the DUI cases have been dismissed.  This is why having a skilled Tennessee DUI attorney by your side throughout the legal process is valuable to get the results you need.  At Barnes Law Firm in Knoxville, we have experience in dealing with all different DUI case situations and can help you fight for your rights when burdened with a DUI charge.

By receiving a DUI/DWI charge in the state of Tennessee, it is very likely that you had to provide a urine or blood sample in addition to the breathalyzer test.  The police may have taken you to a hospital to get your blood or urine test.  No matter how disappointed or discouraged you are in the moments closely following your DUI charge, it is important to have your arrest details examined by a professional Tennessee DUI attorney.  By gaining legal counsel from a DUI attorney, you are equipping yourself with the best possible way to fight for dropped charges and help you find the advantages within your particular case.  Our competent DUI attorneys are known for finding mistakes and using tried defense strategies to help fight your DUI charges.  Having one of our DUI attorneys look over your case as soon as possible after your arrest can only assist you in maximizing your chances to beat the case.  Our attorneys are familiar with all the tests officers administer during a DUI stop, and they know what to look out for in DUI cases.

While there are common indicators that can be relative to alcohol impairment, this may not always be the case for every person who gets charged with a DUI in Tennessee.  For instance, an unusual driving pattern could be caused by a mechanical defect or dangerous road conditions.  The odor of alcohol is usually consistent with its recent consumption, but that does not always mean proof of impairment.  Just because someone has had drinks does not necessarily mean that they are impaired.  Having bloodshot or glassy eyes can be an indicator of being over-tired or fatigued, but there are many other reasons one’s eyes may look this way.  Some people have glassy eyes from being around a smoky environment.  Dental or medical issues may be the cause of slurred speech, not necessarily impairment.  When doing roadside tests, a lack a balance could be from road conditions, footwear, or medical conditions.  Sometimes being unable to locate your documents such as registration for the officer is just out of nervousness.  Some individuals react nervously when speaking to law officers no matter what the circumstances are.  Remember that all hope is not lost just because of the DUI charge you received.  If you are charged with a DUI, it is very important to gain the services of a skilled Tennessee DUI attorney to help you find all the possible ways to get your case dismissed.  Our Knoxville DUI attorneys will let you know what to expect and will provide you personalized legal service for your specific DUI case.

Often mistakes are made in DUI cases due to human error on the arresting officers or intake’s part.  Proving these type of elements can be very difficult especially in a Tennessee DUI court.  If you or your attorney can show the mistakes made by the arresting officers at any point in your DUI case, then you have significantly increased your chances of winning your DUI case.  Our attorneys have experience in exposing the common mistakes made by arresting officers.  Usually, these mistakes or errors are made by the officer in his documentation or the collecting of blood, breath, or urine samples.  Sometimes in DUI arrests, the field sobriety tests are not administered properly.  Once one of our skilled Barnes Law attorneys has reviewed all the details of your particular DUI case, they will discuss defense options and strategies with you to help you fight to beat your DUI charge.  Tennessee DUI laws are always changing, making it even more necessary for you to obtain reliable legal counsel from an experienced DUI attorney. 

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How Do I Beat DUI Charges in Knoxville, Tennessee?

Far too many people make the mistake of accepting a plea bargain when they don’t have to while facing Knoxville, Tennessee, DUI charges. There are cases where this will give you the best outcome, but if you can successfully fight the charges, then you absolutely should. This is because the impact of a DUI conviction on your life is significant. It can prevent you from being able to travel to other countries, from being able to keep your job or pursue other career paths, and even from being able to maintain auto insurance coverage on your vehicle. It is important to have a Knoxville, Tennessee, DUI attorney look at your case and explore your options before you give in to these consequences. Barnes Law knows how to handle a DUI case and how to fight the charges to protect your future. Following are some of the things we think you need to be aware of when it comes to fighting DUI charges.

The Prosecution Has the Burden of Proof for a Knoxville, Tennessee, DUI Case

It’s essential for anyone who is facing a DUI charge in Knoxville, Tennessee, to fully understand that if the case goes to trial, the prosecution has to be able to prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. They have the burden of proof. It is not up to you to prove that you were not driving under the influence. It is up to them to prove that you were. This means that their evidence has to be infallible and inarguable. If there is any reasonable doubt, you should not be convicted. Thus, your Knoxville, Tennessee, DUI attorney must look at establishing reasonable doubt to poke holes in the evidence that the prosecution will present in their effort to prove that you are truly guilty of a DUI.  If there are any issues with the reliability of the tests used to measure your level of intoxication, or if there are any issues with the arrest and legal procedures during that process, then you may have a solid leg to stand on when it comes to fighting a DUI charge.

Could the Results of Your Blood Alcohol Test Be Thrown Out as Evidence?

When you have a blood alcohol content reading on file, it can seem like the situation is completely hopeless.

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If you are fighting a DUI, don’t fight it alone. Contact Barnes Law today!

However, there are many situations where this evidence can be questioned and even thrown out. Imagine if the strongest evidence against you is determined to be unreliable obtained and not allowed to be presented at trial. It suddenly makes you see your case in a whole new light. If the BAC reading cannot be relied upon for any reason, then it can’t be used. Then, what exactly do they have against you to prove beyond reasonable doubt that you were driving under the influence? Common examples of why a BAC reading might be thrown out include:

  • The machine was not properly calibrated.
  • The machine was not properly maintained.
  • The test was not properly administered.

Could the Procedures of the Arresting Officer Keep You From Being Convicted on DUI Charges?

Many people are also unaware of the fact that the arresting officer has to follow certain procedures in order for the arrest to be legal. Police are just as prone to slip ups and mistakes as others are, so it is entirely possible that the officer who arrested you did so without just cause or without following the appropriate procedures. If this happens, then reasonable doubt could be easy to establish.

A Qualified Knoxville, Tennessee, DUI Attorney Can Help You Fight the Charges

Whenever someone is charged with a DUI in Knoxville, Tennessee, it is common for the accused to think that they are without options and without hope. They may think that cooperating with the police and/or admitting guilt is their best opportunity to get out of the charges with the least severe consequences. The reality is that you can’t know that for sure until you talk to a qualified, skilled, and experienced attorney. Not every attorney will have the time or expertise that your case requires, so you want to choose the right lawyer or law firm to handle your case. Seek a free consultation with the at Barnes Law to find out how we can help you to avoid the consequences of DUI charges by fighting. If it is truly in your best interest to plead guilty, then at least you will know that all alternatives have been investigated, pursued, and considered before doing so. There is a very good chance that your attorney can get evidence thrown out, charges dropped, or other intervention options obtained.

Remember that You are Not Guilty of a DUI Just Because You Were Arrested

Being charged with a DUI in Knoxville, Tennessee, is a stressful and overwhelming situation that you don’t want to face alone. From the moment of your arrest, you can expect to feel anxious and even hopeless about your future. You may be very tempted to give up, give in, and cooperate with the police and the prosecution to achieve their goals instead of your own. Don’t make the mistake of assuming that you are going to be found guilty because you were arrested, and never think that helping the prosecution is going to help you. In most cases, this is not so. The prosecution may lead you to believe that your cooperation is the only thing that will save you, but the reality is that you could end up just helping them to put you away and ruin your future. All the while, simply consulting with a skilled Knoxville, Tennessee, DUI attorney could be the answer you’re looking. Call Barnes Law to schedule a free consultation and learn more about your rights and your options with DUI charges.

 

 

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What is the Impact of a DUI Charge on Various Aspects of Your Life in Knoxville, TN?

When someone is facing a DUI charge in Knoxville, Tennessee, they are frequently under a lot of stress concerning the immediate impact. The immediate impact of the charge on your job, your finances, your family, and your social life are readily apparent. Still, a lot of people don’t realize the full extent of the impact of a DUI charge on various aspects of their lives. A DUI could end up on your criminal record. It could cause you to lose your driver’s license and/or end up with an ignition interlock device on your vehicle. It could result in high fines, the necessity of taking DUI classes, and higher insurance rates or lost coverage. It could also prevent you from being able to start a new career, continue in your present career, join the military, or even travel to another country. Today, we’re going to take a closer look at the different ways that a DUI in Knoxville, Tennessee, could change your life.

Your Criminal Record and Career Opportunities with a Knoxville, Tennessee, DUI Charge

When you get a DUI conviction in Knoxville, Tennessee, you are going to have this on your criminal record, which could prevent you from achieving your future career goals. Most companies perform background checks on potential new hires, and this is where your criminal record is going to be particularly relevant to your life and goals. There are some jobs that you will no longer be eligible for with a DUI on your record. Following are just a few examples of occupations where you may not be able to be employed if you have ever been convicted of a DUI in Knoxville, Tennessee:

  • Police Officer
  • Firefighter
  • Teacher
  • Nurse
  • CDL Commercial Vehicle Driver
  • Government Employee

Your Dreams of Travel and Vacation Plans with Knoxville, Tennessee, DUI Charge

One frequently overlooked consequence of a DUI in Knoxville, Tennessee, is the impact on your dreams of travel and your vacation plans. Many people love to travel or hope to travel later in life. When facing a DUI charge, however, it may never even occur to them that their dreams of international travel are on the line. If you plan to immigrate to another country, then this too could be off limits with a DUI conviction. Some countries will not allow anyone with any kind of criminal record to enter. Following are the countries with the strictest policies prohibiting persons with a criminal record from entering:

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If you are fighting a DUI, don’t fight it alone. Contact Barnes Law today!
  • United States
  • United Kingdom
  • Australia
  • New Zealand
  • Countries in the European Union

Your Plans to Serve in the Military with a Knoxville, Tennessee, DUI Charge

If you have any plans to serve in the Army, the Marines, the Navy, or the US Air Force, these plans could quickly be derailed by a Knoxville, Tennessee, DUI conviction. If you are in the military at the time of your arrest, then the details of your arrest must be closely inspected by a Knoxville, Tennessee, DUI attorney to assess the impact of the charges on your military career. Many people don’t realize that their military careers will be affected by a DUI that happens while on leave or between deployments. Individuals who are convicted of such crimes are often deemed unfit to handle leadership and unfit to represent the armed services of the United States. Even if it is your first offense, it could change the trajectory of your military career or completely end it.

Your Auto Insurance Rates with a Knoxville, Tennessee, DUI Charge

If you are lucky, you have no plans to travel or join the military, and if your career is not affected by a DUI conviction, then you will still have the long-term consequence of a DUI on your auto insurance rates. Having a DUI conviction on your record will cause your auto insurance policy rates to be raised significantly, even if it is your first DUI. If you have multiple DUI convictions, then the effect on your auto insurance rates will be even worse, assuming you are able to get your license back. For many people in Knoxville, Tennessee, there is almost no point in having a license or a vehicle, because they can’t afford the auto insurance rates that they must pay for in order to drive legally. Some auto insurance companies will make you pay a much higher rate for a period of five years, without further DUI charges, before lowering the rate again. In the meantime, your rates could be thousands of dollars more each year for the same auto insurance coverage, because you are a high-risk driver.

Another important thing to be aware of with a DUI charge is that if you caused any damages in an auto accident with another driver, your auto insurance policy may refuse to cover those damages. You could end up facing the expenses of paying the damages caused to other vehicles in a DUI auto accident yourself. Adding up all of the potential consequences of a DUI conviction starts to get expensive.

Contact Barnes Law to Protect Yourself from the Impact of a Knoxville, Tennessee, DUI

Because the impact of a Knoxville, Tennessee, DUI conviction can be so costly and life-altering, it is important to consult with a skilled DUI attorney, like those at Barnes Law. There are cases where it is in your best interests to accept a plea deal, but if you want to avoid the impact of a DUI conviction, then this may not be your best option. You need to protect your career, your future plans, and your ability to stay mobile on the road. Contact Barnes Law to schedule a free consultation and learn more about your options for fighting a DUI charge in Knoxville, Tennessee.

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SIX OF THE BEST DUI DEFENSES YOUR LAWYER SHOULD KNOW AND USE IN KNOXVILLE

There are many defenses to a Knoxville DUI charge that are often specific to each case, but there are a few that come up on a regular basis.  These are some of the most successful defenses your lawyer should be using for your Tennessee DUI defense case.

The “Bad Stop” DUI Defense

This is one of the most basic defenses to DUI, but also one of the most effective.

The law is clear that for a police officer to pull you over or to “seize” you, he or she must have at least “reasonable suspicion” that you are committing or have committed a crime.

Police can’t pull you over on a hunch.  They can’t pull you over because it’s 2 A.M. and you’re leaving a particular part of Knoxville.  They can’t pull you over because you have out of county or out of state license plates, and they can’t seize you for sitting in your car minding your own business.

But sometimes they do.  And when they do, a good Knoxville, TN DUI lawyer will recognize the “bad stop” and file a motion to suppress all the evidence and ask the Judge to throw the case out.

The “Disconnect” DUI Defense

You’d probably be surprised how often a blood alcohol test result comes back far higher than a client would expect based on what they had to drink.

I’m often surprised at how high a result is based on watching my client on video and seeing that they look perfectly sober.

When these things happen there is a “disconnect.”  Something is wrong with the evidence.  Should we believe our own eyes seeing a sober and well functioning person?  Or should we believe the TBI blood alcohol test report that says the person had a high BAC?

There are plenty of reasons to rely on our own common sense and not a number on a page that is subject to human and machine error.

The “Real World Tests” vs. “Cop Tests” DUI Defense

“I couldn’t do those tests sober!”

It’s funny because it’s true.  The “Standardized Field Sobriety Tests” are difficult.  There are numerous reasons that people can’t perform them perfectly that have nothing to do with impairment.

We shouldn’t expect a 22-year-old college athlete and a 52-year-old teacher to perform to the same level on tests that require balance and coordination.

We shouldn’t expect someone with back problems, knee surgeries, inner ear issues, and a number of other medical conditions to be able to stand on one leg for 30 seconds with their eyes closed and their head tilted back.

In what world is that something people are expected to do to prove their innocence!

Don’t buy into these tests.  They are tools for the prosecution to convict, not to objectively prove guilt or innocence.

At Barnes Law in Knoxville, we prefer to use my common sense and listen to how my client sounds, how she walks, how he answers questions, and the “real world” indicators of impairment or sobriety that we can all recognize.

The “Bad Investigation” DUI Defense

If you were the victim of a crime wouldn’t you expect a thorough investigation of what happened?  You wouldn’t want the police just jumping to conclusions.  You’d want them to investigate.  To find out the truth and to be sure about it.

I’ve seen people arrested for DUI before they were even able to get out of the car.  I’ve seen DUI investigations that lasted less than 1 minute.

You and I are held to certain standards in our work.  Police officers’ work affects people’s entire lives.  They should be held to at least as high a standard of professionalism and diligence.

If the investigation was shoddy, we can’t trust the results.

The “Good Person” DUI Defense

This isn’t technically a “defense” to DUI.  Let me explain…

This is part of any good DUI defense but needs to be paired with a legal or factual defense.

Almost everyone we represent at Barnes Law for DUI is a good person.  They contribute to their families and the Knoxville community, they take the charge seriously and get help if they need it, and the work to make sure it never happens again.

Sometimes my clients have made a simple mistake about whether they were ok to drive.  Sometimes the police are the ones who made a mistake.

In any event, it’s important that you take certain steps to show that you are a responsible person who is not a danger to your community and that you won’t end up back in Tennessee DUI court ever again.

Taking these steps, that we can discuss, can lead to better results than an “actual” defense by itself.

The “At the Time of Driving” DUI Defense

This is something I see occasionally.  It happens when someone is arrested at their home or at some time after allegedly driving drunk.

In these situations a police officer may first encounter a person who has been in a car accident or who someone has called the police on.

However, the officer can only testify to what she sees at that time, not whether the person was impaired “at the time of driving.”  (or sometimes they can’t say whether the suspect ever drove at all.)

The State has to prove, not just that someone was impaired, but that they were impaired “while driving or in physical control of a motor vehicle.”

That isn’t always as easy as it sounds.

Our Experienced DUI Defense Lawyers Can Help You Beat a Knoxville DUI Charge

These are just a few of the defenses that may be available depending on the circumstances of your case.

Only a qualified Knoxville, TN criminal defense attorney who is experienced in defending DUI cases and who stays on top of all the changes in Tennessee DUI law and practice can advise you about your case.

If you have questions or would like us to evaluate your case give us a call at (865) 805-5703.

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What Penalties Might You Face for a Knoxville, Tennessee, DUI Charge?

Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol is a serious offense in Knoxville, Tennessee. The criminal and financial consequences are very serious and costly. In many cases, they follow you for a long time as you face higher insurance premiums, jail time, the potential loss of your job, and more. One thing that many first time offenders are surprised by is that jail time is mandatory for a DUI conviction. Further, the court costs, the steep fines, and the cost of alcohol or drug treatment can create a significant hardship. If you are facing a DUI charge, even if it is your first, you would be wise to contact a Knoxville, Tennessee, DUI defense lawyer as quickly as possible to mitigate the damage.

What Counts as Driving Under the Influence According to the Law in Knoxville, Tennessee?

When you think of DUI charges, you imagine a drunk driver. If asked to think of other potential situations involving DUI charges, it might occur to you to consider those who drive under the influence of illegal drugs. What most people fail to consider is that even legally prescribed medications could result in a DUI charge. Specifically, you cannot drive on public roads, on highways, in ordinary streets, or even alleys while impaired by any substance. This includes marijuana, narcotics, stimulants, prescriptions that cause impairment, and of course, alcohol.

Having said that, not all illegal drugs and prescription medications are as easy to measure as alcohol when you are suspected of driving under the influence. You could test positive for THC, proving that you have use marijuana, but this only proves that you used marijuana at some time within the past month or so. You might test positive for cocaine or amphetamines, but this only proves that you used it at some time within the past few days. With prescription medications, you may test positive for something like codeine or benzodiazepines, but these tests only reveal that you have taken such medications at some time within the past few days or even weeks.

Alcohol, on the other hand, can be measured through a blood alcohol content breathalyzer test or blood test. These tests can reveal if you are currently intoxicated. For this reason, your level of impairment may be subjective. Also for this reason, you should be very careful about what you say when you are pulled over on suspicion of driving under the influence. If you specifically state that you are impaired by the side effects of a prescription medication, then this may be used against you.

What to Expect from a DUI Conviction as a First Time Offender in Knoxville, Tennessee

While the consequences for a DUI conviction are much worse for repeat offenders, even if the previous offenses happened in another state, the consequences are still very serious for first time offenders. As a first time offender, a DUI conviction will involve mandatory fines of $350 to $1,500.

Also mandatory is the jail time that comes with such a conviction. You will have a mandatory minimum of 48 hours in jail, though it could be more than this. In cases where your BAC was higher than .20%, you will have a mandatory minimum of seven days in jail. Depending on your case, you could end up with a jail sentence of anywhere from two days to almost a full year (11 months, 29 days maximum).

Other consequences of a first time DUI conviction in Knoxville, Tennessee, include having your driver’s license revoked for one year, having to use an ignition interlock device when you get your license back (which requires you to use a breathalyzer before driving), and 24 hours of community service.

What to Expect From a DUI Conviction as a Second Time Offender in Knoxville, Tennessee

If you are convicted of a DUI for a second time in Knoxville, Tennessee, then your fines will be $600 to $3,500. Your jail sentence will be between 45 days and 11 months, 29 days. In some cases, you may be able to trade some jail time for some time in an inpatient drugs or alcohol treatment program. Your license can be revoked for two years for a second offense, and you may also have to forfeit your vehicle.

What to Expect From a DUI Conviction as a Third Time Offender in Knoxville, Tennessee

If you end up being convicted of a DUI charge for a third time in Knoxville, Tennessee, you can expect to pay fines between $1K and $10K. You will also have a mandatory minimum jail sentence of 120 days, though you could also face a sentence of 11 months, 29 days. Your license will be revoked for six years, and you are more likely to have to forfeit your vehicle.

What to Expect From a DUI Conviction as a Fourth Time Offender in Knoxville, Tennessee

Once you get to your fourth DUI charge in Knoxville, Tennessee, you can be convicted of a felony (Class E). This will involve a more serious criminal record, fines from $3K to $15K, and jail or prison time between 150 days and six years. Your license will be revoked for eight years, and you will probably have to forfeit your vehicle. Your incarceration will be followed by probation, community service, and counseling for drug or alcohol addiction. If anyone else was harmed through your behavior, then you will also have to pay the victims restitution for their damages.

The Barnes Law Firm Can Help You Get the Best Possible Outcome in Your DUI Case

If you are facing DUI charges in Knoxville, Tennessee, you want to have legal guidance and representation from an attorney who knows how get the best possible outcome for you. Working with an experienced Knoxville, Tennessee, DUI defense legal team can help you avoid conviction, minimize your charges, and potentially save you from a damaged reputation and further financial losses.  Call the Barnes Law Firm to learn more about how we can help you in your DUI defense.

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Don’t Be Fooled By These Common DUI Myths in Knoxville, Tennessee

Tennessee is among the most strict states in the US when it comes to DUI charges. Yet, many people don’t realize how serious of a crime it is or how difficult it can be to successfully defend yourself against DUI charges in Knoxville, Tennessee. Today, we’re going to look at some of the most common myths and misconceptions that people frequently believe about driving under the influence and the impact that such charges can have on your life.

Myth: Your License Will Be Automatically Revoked if You Refuse a Blood Alcohol Test

When you get pulled over on suspicion of driving under the influence in Knoxville, Tennessee, the police officer will probably ask you to take a blood alcohol content (BAC) breathalyzer test. While refusing to do so could lead to such consequences, because it does look suspicious to a jury, your license is not automatically revoked based on your refusal to take the BAC test.

Myth: You Are Automatically Guilty if Your BAC is Over the Legal Limit to Driver

While this makes a lot of sense on the surface, the reality is that there are many situations in which you may not be found guilty of a DUI, even though your BAC was over the legal limit. For example, there may be questions about the legitimacy of the test, about the time between driving and the BAC reading, or about whether or not you were even actually driving while your BAC was over the limit.

Myth: You Do Not Need an Attorney if You Are Innocent of the Alleged Crime

This myth comes from the common assumption that justice will prevail. The truth is that people really do end up convicted of crimes that they did not commit, and it really could happen to you. If you are accused of and charged with a crime in which you are innocent, it is essential to have skilled legal representation to ensure that you do not end up suffering the consequences of something you didn’t really do. Never assume that justice will prevail without an effective legal defense.

Myth: Your First DUI Offense is Not Going to Be Punished Too Harshly

Your first DUI in Knoxville, Tennessee, may not result in the more severe penalties of repeat offenders, but the consequences are still going to be harsh. You should not assume that you will be more likely to win your case or that your case is not that big of a deal, just because it is the first time you have been charged with a DUI. Keep in mind that most DUI charges are first offenses and are taken seriously.

Myth: You Don’t Need to Hire an Attorney Because One Will Be Provided

In some cases, you can have an attorney provided, but you will have to qualify as indigent, meaning that you do not have the financial means to hire an attorney. If you don’t qualify, you will not be provided with an attorney. Further, if you do get a free or ‘pro bono’ attorney, he or she is likely to have a very large case load. Thus, you may not get the attention and prioritization that you need to win your case.

Myth: The Influence of Prescribed Medication Does Not Count as Driving Under the Influence

It is understandable why so many people make the mistake of believing that the effects of their prescription medications don’t qualify for a charge of driving under the influence. Unfortunately, this is not the case. Anyone who takes prescribed medications is legally responsible for knowing how the medication affects them and whether or not they are safe to drive. If your medication prevents you from driving safely, then you can be charged with a DUI.

Myth: Minors Will Not Face Serious Consequences for a Knoxville, Tennessee, DUI Charge 

Drivers who are between the ages of sixteen and eighteen often think that they will not face serious consequences for a DUI charge because they are minors. The truth is that minors are held to a higher standard of sobriety because they are not legally allowed to have any BAC at all. While adults can drive with a BAC that is lower than .08%, minors can be charged with a DUI with a BAC of .0002%.

Myth: A DUI is Less Expensive Without a Knoxville, Tennessee, DUI Defense Attorney

Although it can cost a lot of money to work with a skilled Knoxville, Tennessee, DUI defense attorney, you are far more likely to face serious fines and penalties without one. Further, you still have to address your court costs. Working with an attorney can be costly, but it is because of the work that goes into saving you from a criminal record, from higher insurance premiums, and even from jail time.

Your attorney ensures that your case is thoroughly investigated and that all facts are taken into account. Then, they do everything they can to get the best possible outcome for you. In many cases, your DUI defense attorney will accept credit cards, and they may also have a different rate for first offenses. It is difficult to say exactly what you will end up paying for legal representation without seeking a free consultation with a Knoxville, Tennessee, DUI defense attorney. Some lawyers may end up charging less than $2,000, while others may charge more than $10,000. It depends on the case and the lawyer. Contact the Barnes Law Firm to learn more about what it may cost to defend you.

Keep in mind that the expenses of a conviction are likely to greatly outweigh the cost of your criminal defense. Your attorney can help you avoid the cost of high risk auto insurance with SR-22. Your attorney can keep you from having a lengthy jail sentence. Your attorney can help you get your charges reduced or dropped. If you are innocent, then your attorney can help to ensure that you don’t end up paying for a crime you didn’t commit. The consequences of a DUI charge can follow you for life, and if you don’t work with a skilled DUI defense attorney in Knoxville, you are likely to regret it.

The Barnes Law Firm Launches New Website for Criminal and DUI Clients

The new Barnes Law Firm website was created to ensure the client was the focal point and provides information and answers that are sought

The Barnes Law Firm is pleased to announce the recent launch of its redesigned criminal and DUI website. The redesigned website offers a thorough and clean new look and has been fine tuned to help better assist the public as they search for answers to common questions or concerns related to Knoxville DUI and criminal matters.

In addition to an all-new look, there are new resources available, including helpful blogs, law specific information and more. Top DUI lawyer, John Barnes, has spent quite a bit of his career educating and informing the public on checkpoints, DUI laws, DUI police hideouts and personal rights related to criminal investigations.

John Barnes, of John Barnes Law, stated, “With the legislature continuing to create new DUI and criminal laws, it is more difficult than ever before to my clients to know what to do and how to handle their legal situation. My entire legal team is dedicated to ensuring each client receives the professional and dedicated service they need and deserve.”

The Barnes Law Firm was initially founded with the future of the client as the focal point. This means the legal team works hard each day to deliver clients high quality, aggressive and personalized representation. The law team ensures there is always someone available to speak with clients regarding their criminal defense or DUI case and the new website ensures finding the information needed is easy.

John has received a number of awards in the past, including The National Top 40 Under 40 Trial Lawyers, The National Top 100 Trial Lawyers, has received an AVVO rating of 10.0 and was named as the Client’s Choice award winner for 2015 from AVVO for the category of DUI and DWI.

ABOUT THE BARNES LAW FIRM

The Barnes Law Firm is dedicated to providing quality representation for each client served. They provide advice to clients when they need it and never take more than a few days to return a call. The kindness and respect the law firm provides surpass other attorney’s in the area.

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What to do if you get a DUI while on vacation in Gatlinburg

Tennessee is known worldwide for its Tennessee Whiskey, especially Jack Daniels, and Gatlinburg and Sevierville have quickly become prime moonshine distilling towns. Its no surprise that visitors and vacationers want to enjoy some of the drinks that have made this area famous.

Unfortunately, anyone can misjudge their limits and make a one time mistake. This is especially common while on vacation.

DUI Lawyer in Gatlinburg & East Tennessee

DUI lawyer Gatlinburg TNIf you’ve come to Gatlinburg or East Tennessee and been charged with a DUI, you’re probably wondering how you’re going to handle a criminal case so far from home. In this article, I’ll address several of the concerns that are specific to a DUI while on vacation and also specific to Sevier County and the Great Smoky Mountains.

In 2014, over 10 million people visited the park and many others came to Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge and Sevierville. Of those millions, inevitably some will be charged with DUI. Once charged, you face not only the normal serious penalties for a DUI in Tennessee, but also the added difficulty of dealing with the case from far away.

WERE YOU IN THE NATIONAL PARK WHEN ARRESTED FOR DUI?

This is an important first question to answer. The national park is federal property and DUIs occurring in the park are prosecuted in federal court. You will know your DUI was in the park if you given citations requiring you to appear in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee.

If you were arrested outside the park, you will likely have been stopped by local law enforcement or the Tennessee Highway Patrol. Your court documents should require you to appear at the Sevier County General Sessions Court.

Since most DUIs occur on state land, the remainder of this article will address Tennessee State court. However, much of the information will relate generally to handling a DUI arrest from out of state.

 

BONDING OUT OF JAIL

Being from out of state can make bonding out of jail more difficult. Bonding companies want to know that the person they post bond for will show back up to court. If they don’t, the bonding companies lose money. People from out of state pose a larger risk of not showing up to court.

The ideal way to bond out is to post your own “cash” bond. You can do this by having someone deposit the full amount of the bond, often in the neighborhood of $1,500, with the Clerk of Court. Just call the clerk’s office and they will help you with this.

When you post your own cash bond, the money remains yours and will be refunded at the end of the case, though any court costs and fines will be taken out first.

When you hire a bondsman, you will pay a percentage of the bond as a fee. The fee is non-refundable. The fee is often 10%, though for out of state travelers it is often more.

YOUR FIRST APPEARANCE

You will have a court date set about a month after your arrest. That court date is an arraignment. It has three primary purposes:

  1. To make sure you understand what you’ve been charged with.
  2. To make sure you have a lawyer, either appointed if you qualify, or retained.
  3. To schedule a court date for your case to be heard.

Fortunately for travelers, if you hire an attorney before this court date, your attorney can “waive” your arraignment and set a date for your case to be heard. That will save you a trip back to Tennessee, since if you do not have an attorney you must appear at your arraignment or risk having a warrant issued for your arrest.

 

HIRING A TENNESSEE LAWYER IF YOU ARE FROM OUT OF STATE

Hiring a lawyer is more difficult if you cannot meet personally with several candidates. However, there are ways to make this process easier, namely, technology.

The considerations for hiring a lawyer from out of state are the same as they otherwise would be, but with added requirements. The process of hiring the right lawyer for you is beyond the scope of this article, but at the least, your potential new lawyer should:

  1. Have handled numerous DUI cases, including having hearings and trials
  2. Devote a significant portion of his or her practice to DUI defense
  3. Have experience in the particular courts and counties where you were charged
  4. Be able to answer all your questions and explain to you in detail how your case will be handled and what to expect

Modern technology has made communication much easier. Skype allows for long distance meetings without costs and email and cell phones make communication instant. You should expect excellent communication from your lawyer before and after you hire. 

 

WILL I HAVE TO COME BACK TO TENNESSEE FOR COURT?

Probably so, though the number of trips can be reduced with planning.

It is unlikely your lawyer can handle your case without you ever appearing. However, many clients have to appear two, three, four, or more times in the course of a normal DUI case. The number of trips you have to make can be reduced if you and your lawyer plan ahead.

The court has the authority to allow your lawyer to appear on your behalf at preliminary court dates. On these dates your lawyer may negotiate with the prosecutor and discuss your case and how it might be resolved. Clients typically attend these dates, but you may prefer to speak with your lawyer by phone, rather than flying in.

Ultimately, you are likely to have to make a trip back to East Tennessee to resolve your case. A good attorney will work with you to pick a date that works for your and the court’s schedule. The case is likely to be pending anywhere from 4 to 12 months, so you will have plenty of time to plan.

 

WILL THE TENNESSEE DUI AFFECT MY OUT OF STATE DRIVER’S LICENSE?

If you are convicted of DUI, Tennessee will suspend your driving privileges from 1 to 8 years, depending on your criminal history.

Tennessee is one of only 5 states that is not a member of the Interstate Driver’s License Compact. The Compact allows states to share driver’s license and traffic offense information between states. Theoretically, Tennessee will not report a DUI conviction to your home state under the Compact.

However, the Compact is not the only way States find out about DUI convictions, and home states often do revoke licenses based on a Tennessee conviction. You should not rely on Tennessee’s non-participation in the compact and think you will keep your home state license if convicted, since that is possible, but unlikely.

 

OTHER ISSUES FOR VACATIONERS TO GATLINBURG, THE SMOKIES, OR EAST TENNESSEE

We practice regularly in all Sevier County courts (where Gatlinburg and much of the park is), as well as in Knoxville, Knox, Blount, Anderson, Roane, and Loudon Counties. Do not hesitate to call, email or even text us if you have questions or would like to speak with someone about your DUI case.

John Barnes
Attorney, Barnes Law
(865) 999-0294
john@johnbarneslaw.com

 

This article and all materials on this website are for general information purposes only and are not legal. Every case is different. You should contact a lawyer in your jurisdiction if you need legal advice.  

Knox and East Tennessee Court Weather Closings

Its that time of year when we’ll go to bed wondering whether or not courts will be closed tomorrow for snow.  The following information should come in handy.  

The Knoxville Bar Association has put together a comprehensive list of each court in the area’s policy for closing for inclement weather.  If you’re interested in Knox County General Sessions Courts, they follow the Knox County School’s closing decision (but not opening late decisions).

You can find the details on their website at http://www.knoxbar.org/Lawyers/courts-inclement-weather-policies or download the pdf here: 2016_Court_Inclement_Weather_Policies-_Updated

DUI Second Offense

Unfortunately, if you’ve been charged with a DUI second offense, the potential penalties aren’t just twice as bad as a DUI first offense.  The minimum jail time in Tennessee on a DUI second offense is 45 days, versus just 2 days on a DUI first offense.  That’s a 2,250% increase!

The other penalties increase with a second offense as well.  The fine increases to a minimum $600 and the loss of license period increases to 2 years.  Additionally, an alcohol and drug assessment is required and the assessor’s recommendations, no matter how stringent, must be followed.  Add on court costs, increased cost of insurance, and attorney fees and its obvious a second offense DUI is a big deal.

The Good News

Despite the penalties being greater, defending a DUI second in court is very similar to defending a first offense.  That is because if your case gets tried to a jury, the jury won’t know you’ve been convicted before.

Only certain prior offense can “come into evidence” in a trial.  Prosecutors can’t use the fact that you’ve been convicted of a DUI before to prove that you are guilty of a DUI this time.  That’s because a prior conviction is not relevant to the question the jury must answer, “was the defendant impaired while driving or in physical control of a motor vehicle?”

Rehabilitation and Jail Time

Some people who have been charged with DUI second offense have substance abuse problems.  If that is the case, it serves the person charged and the community to get help with his or her addiction.

The law allows for a portion of the jail time imposed on a DUI second offense conviction to be served in an inpatient drug and/or alcohol treatment facility.  However, there are restrictions on how much time can be awarded and other aspects of this program.  Getting a spot in a facility can be difficult and costly, though there are insurance plans and state programs that can help out.

Plea Bargaining

There are times when a DUI second offense can be “reduced” to a DUI first offense.  This usually happens when your attorney can identify strong defenses and convince a prosecutor that there are either good legal and factual reasons or good mitigating personal reasons to reduce the charge.

It is not easy to get a second offense reduced to a first.  Many people think it should be as simple as asking the prosecutor, but at least in Knoxville and East Tennessee, district attorneys take DUI cases seriously, especially multiple offense DUIs.

Whether any particular negotiated agreement is a “good deal” depends on the facts and law of each case.  A reduction to a first offense could be a great result for one client and could also be wisely rejected by another, depending on the circumstances.

Qualifying as a Second Offense

Just because someone has a prior conviction for DUI, does not mean a current charge is a second offense.  In order to qualify as a prior for the purpose of making someone a multiple offender, the most recent conviction had to occur within the past ten years.  If someone has had no DUI convictions in the past ten years, then any current charge should be a first offense.

Also, if the DUI charge was from out of the State of Tennessee, a lawyer will need to examine the other states statute to make sure it qualifies.  He or she should also examine the documentation of any prior judgment of conviction for DUI, since an invalid judgement could be attacked and potentially not count against you.

These are just a few of the considerations when dealing with a DUI second offense charge.  We’d be happy to discuss the specifics of your case.  Just fill out the case evaluation form or give us a call at (865) 999-0294.