How to Get a DUI Dismissed in Tennessee

Barnes & Fersten Law Firm

Barnes & Fersten Law Firm

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Driving under the influence (DUI) is a criminal offense with far-reaching consequences. Understandably, then, you’re probably feeling stressed and worried if you’re facing charges.

But did you know that it’s absolutely possible to challenge the accusations? Don’t just accept DUI charges, even if you fail a fail sobriety test or had a high BAC. Even if you think you are guilty of DUI, a DUI attorney still may be able to avoid a conviction and get the case dismissed or reduced.

Instead, get legal advice. Call Barnes & Fersten. Our DUI attorneys will explain if you have grounds for a DUI dismissal. We’ll help you understand the criminal process, and devise a strategy for mitigating – or beating – the charges.

In the meantime, though, let our attorneys explain the evidence needed for a DUI conviction in TN. We’ll cover what the prosecution must prove – and how we can help you get a DUI expunged in Tennessee.

Understanding DUI Charges In Tennessee

DUI, or driving under the influence, occurs when a person operates a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or a combination of both.

In Tennessee, you can be charged with a DUI if your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is 0.08% or higher. For commercial drivers, the limit is 0.04%, and for drivers under the age of 21, it’s 0.02%.

Penalties for DUI Convictions in Tennessee

Tennessee DUI penalties are severe. A DUI conviction, even for a first offense, requires mandatory loss of license and mandatory jail time. To find out more about the specific mandatory minimum jail time and loss of license click here. However, this blog’s purpose is to detail how to avoid the penalties of a DUI conviction on your record forever. 

Other penalties include:

  • Fines
  • Ignition interlock devices (installed at your expense!)
  • License suspension
  • Mandatory alcohol education
  • Treatment programs

There’s simply too much at stake to face DUI charges alone. From the moment of a DUI arrest, you need an experienced attorney on your side.

Call Barnes & Fersten, and we will immediately get to work for you. We will explain your legal rights, and protect your interests while we consider a defense strategy.

Is a DUI Dismissal Possible?

The short answer is yes. Our DUI lawyers routinely get drunk driving cases dismissed or reduced.

Ultimately, it comes down to the evidence needed for a DUI conviction, and whether the prosecution proves their case. It’s the role of your defense attorney to consider whether a client has grounds for dismissal, and to make this case successfully.

With that in mind, here are grounds for dismissal that a DUI attorney may use in your case:

  1. Lack of reasonable suspicion and/or probable cause: Law enforcement officers must have a valid reason, or reasonable suspicion, to initiate a traffic stop. If they didn’t have sufficient reason to pull you over, any evidence collected during the stop may be deemed inadmissible in court, which could lead to a dismissal.

    For example, an officer may have stopped you for making a wide turn, which does not violate any traffic laws and therefore does not provide the officer reason to pull you over. Similarly, officers routinely pull vehicles over for failure to maintain their lane when the motorists’ wheel touches the fog line or lane line, but the law requires crossing the line, mere touching of the lane line does not provide an officer reason to pull your vehicle over.

    A skilled attorney can argue that the initial stop was unjustified and move to suppress any evidence gathered during the stop. Our lawyers have successfully gotten countless cases dismissed or reduced through arguing such motions at hearings and during negotiations with prosecutors.

    3 Stages of DUI Investigations: There are 3 stages of a DUI investigation and there are specific cues or indicators of impairment during each stage. Our lawyers are specifically trained through the same training the officers go through and meticulously evaluate the officer’s observations. The officer must have a certain amount of evidence to proceed to the next stage and therefore it may be grounds for a dismissal if the officer lacked said evidence.
  2. Inaccurate field sobriety tests: Field sobriety tests (FSTs) are designed to assess a person’s level of impairment. However, they’re not foolproof and can be influenced by factors such as fatigue, nervousness, or physical disabilities. An experienced DUI attorney can challenge the reliability of FST results by highlighting factors that may have impacted the test results, like uneven pavement or poor lighting conditions. By casting doubt on the accuracy of the FSTs, the attorney can potentially weaken the prosecution’s case and increase your chances of a favorable outcome.


3. Faulty breathalyzer results: Breathalyzer tests measure BAC to determine if a person is over the legal limit. However, these tests can be affected by factors such as calibration errors, improper administration, or interfering substances.

A knowledgeable DUI attorney can scrutinize the breathalyzer results by investigating the device’s maintenance records, questioning the officer’s training in administering the test, or presenting evidence of factors that could have led to a false positive result, such as mouthwash, certain medications or medical conditions. The length of delay between the time of the breathalyzer and time of driving can play a significant factor as well, especially if you do not appear or sound impaired to the level notated on the breathalyzer slip. Successfully challenging the accuracy of breathalyzer results may help in reducing DUI charges in Tennessee or even lead to a dismissal.

4. Violation of constitutional rights: If your constitutional rights (such as your right to remain silent or your right to counsel) were violated during your arrest, your attorney may be able to argue for a dismissal.

For example, if the arresting officer failed to read you your Miranda rights or continued to question you after you requested an attorney, your attorney can argue that any statements you made should be suppressed. Similarly, if you were not allowed to contact an attorney within a reasonable time or were subjected to an unlawful search, your attorney can use these violations to argue for a dismissal or suppression of evidence.

The Role Of DUI Defense Attorneys

You might feel pressured into accepting a deal or think that the evidence is overwhelming. But never plead guilty to a DUI charge without consulting a DUI defense attorney first!

DUI lawyers play a crucial role in helping clients fight charges and challenge evidence. They can help you get a DUI expunged in Tennessee. They will:

  1. Analyze and challenge the evidence: A skilled attorney will meticulously review the evidence, including police reports, witness statements, and test results. They will identify any inconsistencies or inaccuracies that could weaken the prosecution’s case, such as unreliable field sobriety test results or inaccurate breathalyzer or blood test readings. By challenging the evidence, your attorney can create reasonable doubt and strengthen your defense.
  2. Negotiate with the prosecution: In some cases, your attorney may be able to negotiate a plea deal that reduces the charges or penalties you face. This could involve pleading to a lesser charge, such as reckless driving, or agreeing to complete a treatment program in exchange for a reduced sentence. A skilled attorney knows when to negotiate and how to advocate on your behalf to secure the most favorable outcome possible.
  3. Present a compelling argument in court: If your case goes to trial, your attorney will use their expertise and knowledge of Tennessee DUI law to present a persuasive argument that casts doubt on the prosecution’s case. They can challenge the prosecution’s evidence, present alternative explanations for your behavior or test results, and bring in expert witnesses to support your defense. An experienced DUI attorney knows how to effectively communicate with the judge and jury, increasing the likelihood of a favorable verdict.

If there are grounds for dismissal of a DUI, our attorney will find it.

How to Beat a DUI Charge in Tennessee: Defense Strategies

In addition to the potential grounds for dismissal discussed earlier, a skilled DUI attorney can employ various strategies to build a robust defense for your case:

  1. Demonstrating inconsistencies: Your attorney can identify inconsistencies in the arresting officer’s testimony, police reports, or other evidence to create reasonable doubt. This might include discrepancies between the officer’s testimony and the dashcam or bodycam footage, contradictions in the officer’s statements, or conflicts between witness accounts and the prosecution’s version of events.
  2. Presenting alternative explanations: In some cases, there may be a plausible explanation for your behavior or the results of the tests that doesn’t involve intoxication. A skilled DUI attorney can present these alternative explanations to the court, further weakening the prosecution’s case. For example, an attorney might argue that your poor performance on a field sobriety test was due to a medical condition, fatigue, or even poor weather conditions, rather than intoxication. Similarly, many medical conditions such as  diabetes (hypoglycemia or hyperglycemia), head trauma, hock, stroke, conjunctivitis, multiple sclerosis or other conditions may cause someone to appear and sound impaired, or even effect an individuals blood level. 
  3. Highlighting mitigating factors: Your DUI attorney can emphasize mitigating factors that may help sway the court in your favor. These could include a clean criminal record, community service, voluntary participation in alcohol education programs, military history, and a commercial driver license or professional license that may be lost with a conviction. 

How Barnes & Fersten Can Help You Beat a DUI Charge in Tennessee

There’s no guarantee of a DUI dismissal in Tennessee. However, it is possible to fight for the best outcome in the circumstances.

That’s where Barnes & Fersten can help. Our experienced attorneys know how to craft successful defense strategies. We understand how to use Tennessee DUI laws to a client’s advantage. Whether it’s challenging evidence or negotiating a deal, clients know they can trust us to represent their best interests.

After all, that’s what we care about at Barnes & Fersten. And we’ll use our passion and knowledge to help you challenge a DUI.

Contact Barnes & Fersten now for a free consultation. You can call on (865) 805-5703 or complete our online form. Either way, we’re on hand, waiting to help you with any criminal charges.

DUI & Criminal Defense Attorney Brandon Fersten

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.