BAC Over Legal Limit In Tennessee – Can A DUI Attorney Help Me?

Barnes & Fersten Law Firm

Barnes & Fersten Law Firm

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Police officer telling driver blood alcohol level results

It can happen to anybody–a couple drinks at a bar turns into a DUI traffic stop on the side of the road. You may have thought you didn’t feel drunk, but after a blood or breathalyzer test from a police officer, you are faced with a reading above the legal limit, turning an evening’s casual enjoyment into an intense concern for what lies ahead.

In Tennessee, driving under the influence (DUI) laws stipulate that a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or higher is considered legally impaired. If you’ve found yourself in this situation, you might think there are no options for your DUI defense. However, with the right support, navigating this challenging legal landscape can be less daunting.

At Barnes & Fersten, our experienced DUI and criminal defense attorneys are well-versed in handling cases where the BAC is above the legal limit. While no legal outcome can be guaranteed, our track record demonstrates success in helping clients with BAC readings even as high as 0.30% to get their charges reduced or dismissed.

BAC Levels and DUI Charges in Tennessee

Understanding your DUI charge begins with understanding Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) limits in Tennessee. For drivers aged 21 and over, the legal limit is 0.08%. If you’re found driving with a BAC above this, you could face a DUI charge.

However, the law is more stringent when BAC readings cross certain thresholds. If your BAC measures 0.20% or higher—more than double the legal limit—this escalates to an aggravated DUI charge. An aggravated DUI isn’t just a label; it comes with an enhanced penalty. Instead of the typical minimum 48-hour jail sentence for a DUI, an aggravated DUI carries a minimum mandatory jail sentence of 7 days.

For drivers under the age of 21, Tennessee operates under a ‘zero tolerance’ policy. This means that any detectable amount of alcohol (typically a BAC of 0.02% or higher) can result in an underage Driving While Impaired (DWI) charge. Commercial drivers, due to the potential danger of the vehicles they operate, are held to an even stricter standard with a BAC limit of 0.04%.

If you’ve found yourself with a BAC above these limits, you might feel like the odds are stacked against you. But it’s crucial to remember that a DUI charge does not automatically mean a DUI conviction. At Barnes & Fersten, our mission is to craft a defense that takes into account every detail of your case, no matter your BAC level.

The Power of Detailed Case Analysis: Your Defense Is Our Mission

We understand that each DUI case is unique and requires a tailored approach. Our comprehensive case analysis process is designed to ensure that no stone is left unturned in your defense. This meticulous approach not only helps us identify any weaknesses in the prosecution’s case, but also allows us to better understand your personal circumstances and the potential impact a DUI conviction could have on your life.

Reviewing the Evidence and Procedures

Our legal team leaves no stone unturned in scrutinizing the details of your case. This process starts with an exhaustive review of all available evidence, which extends beyond the police report. We dissect the arresting officer’s statements for inconsistencies, observe the dash camera to determine if the officer can assert specific and articulable facts to justify a stop of your vehicle pursuant to traffic laws, critically assess the administration of field sobriety tests for strict adherence to standardized protocols and delve into the calibration and maintenance records of any breath or blood testing equipment used to ensure their accuracy and reliability, as well as the measurement certainty of those results.

Both breath tests and blood tests have their own unique requirements for the evidence to be admissible in court. However, even if the evidence is admissible in court, it does not necessarily mean that the evidence is reliable. For example, we may observe a disconnect between our clients’ appearance on body camera footage and the blood or breath evidence. We use this to our advantage to argue the blood or breath test cannot be reliable because our client would be exhibiting certain behavior that you simply do not see on the blood or breath results.

The assessment doesn’t end there. We also rigorously examine the procedures followed during your arrest. From evaluating the legitimacy of the initial traffic stop’s reasonable suspicion to scrutinizing the officer’s compliance with your constitutional rights throughout the encounter, we ensure every aspect of your case is handled with the utmost care and precision.

For example, we have gotten cases dismissed through hearings for an officer’s failure to establish specific facts to justify a stop in numerous cases where clients’ BAC was significantly above a .08%. Similarly, illegal seizures for an arrest based on an unanimous 911 call or a lack of a full investigation have resulted in us getting cases dismissed where the BAC was above a .08%.

In addition to getting cases dismissed with a high BAC, we have gotten cases reduced to reckless driving or reckless endangerment even where our clients’ BAC was as high as .30%. It is important to note that every case is different but our attorneys will explore every nuance in the law to determine if we are able to get your case dismissed or reduced despite a high BAC on a blood or breath test.

Uncovering Potential Defenses and Strategies

The wealth of information we gather during our detailed case analysis forms the foundation of a robust defense strategy, uniquely tailored to your situation. Our team is adept at identifying potential legal and constitutional issues that could be used to challenge the prosecution’s case, such as procedural errors during your arrest or unreliable BAC test results due to poorly calibrated equipment or faulty testing procedures.

Moreover, we’re always on the lookout for opportunities to present alternative explanations for the evidence. For instance, certain medical conditions can affect BAC levels or influence performance on field sobriety tests. We’re dedicated to exploring all these angles, ensuring that we construct the most solid defense possible for your case.

The Potential for Legal and Constitutional Violations

Our extensive experience in the field of DUI law has shown us that law enforcement officers, while often well-meaning, can make mistakes. These errors can lead to violations of legal procedures or constitutional rights during their investigations. Such violations can range from issues as serious as improper conduct during a traffic stop to technical errors in the administration of breathalyzer tests.

At Barnes & Fersten, our team of DUI attorneys excels at detecting these potential issues. When we spot such a pitfall, we utilize it to challenge the legitimacy of the evidence against you. This could lead to a reduction or even dismissal of your case.

Let Barnes & Fersten Fight For You

Our in-depth case analysis at Barnes & Fersten is not just a process—it’s a commitment to you, our client, to provide the most comprehensive and effective defense possible. With this approach, you can be assured that your case is in the hands of experts, dedicated to fighting for your rights and your future.

If you were driving over the legal limit and you’re facing DUI charges, don’t leave your future to chance. Contact Barnes & Fersten today. Let our experienced DUI attorneys guide you through this difficult time, and work tirelessly to secure the best possible outcome for your case. You don’t have to face this battle alone—we’re here to help.

Attorney At Law, Managing Partner

Brandon D. Fersten is an esteemed Knoxville attorney practicing DUIcriminal defense, and juvenile law. Known for his empathetic approach and commitment to his clients, he brings a record of favorable case outcomes including dismissals and not guilty verdicts at jury trials resulting in Brandon being recognized as one of the “Top 40 Under 40” in Criminal Defense, U.S. News’ Best Lawyers: “Ones to Watch,” and Super Lawyers’ “Rising Stars”. Brandon’s professional accolades, combined with his passion for justice, position him as a reliable criminal defense advocate in the East Tennessee legal landscape.