Defending Against DUI Charges.

If you've been charged with drunk driving (DUI), drugged driving or boating under the influence (BUI) in Knoxville or greater Knox County, you need the help of a skilled criminal defense attorney. You need the help of Cameron Bell, Attorney At Law.

Can You Refuse Tests? Should You Cooperate?

There is a lot of confusion and misinformation about a person's rights during DUI stops and after being arrested. Although you need to decide for yourself whether you should cooperate, the following information will hopefully be helpful.

When you get pulled over, an officer may ask you to take field sobriety tests. He or she might even say, "Just take these tests and I'll send you on your way as soon as possible."

To be clear, you are not legally required to participate in field sobriety tests, and there is no penalty for refusing them. Regardless of what an officer might say, it is usually not in your best interests to take them. Promises of leniency for cooperating are not worth much. DUI convictions are often obtained based on evidence provided directly by the suspect, including the results of field sobriety tests.

You can still be arrested even if you didn't participate in testing. After being arrested or detained, an officer will likely ask you to submit to a chemical test to measure your blood-alcohol concentration. In Knox County, breath tests have largely been replaced by blood draws. You can generally refuse to submit to a blood draw (unless you have multiple previous DUI convictions), but refusing a chemical test will usually result in a one-year suspension of your license for violating Tennessee's implied consent law.

Bottom line: Refusing to cooperate with tests can result in consequences such as suspension of your license. On the other hand, by not taking the tests, prosecutors will have less evidence to use against you in court. The decision must ultimately be yours. But in general, when it comes to suspicion of drunk driving, speaking less and cooperating less is in your best interests.

When Should You Seek Help From A DUI Defense Attorney? Right Away.

Some DUI defendants start with a public defender and wait to seek help from a private defense attorney until charges "look serious." This can ultimately limit your options. Here are some reasons why it makes sense to hire your own criminal defense attorney right away:

  • Your initial attorney will likely be negotiating with the district attorney. Once a deal is offered, the DA may refuse to renegotiate, even if a new lawyer is brought in.
  • It takes time to subpoena evidence, such as video from a police cruiser. The sooner we can request this evidence, the sooner we can get to work on your defense.
  • An experienced criminal defense attorney can assist you with tasks related to your pending DUI case, such as petitioning for a restricted license if your driver's license will be suspended.

Call Today To Discuss Your Case With A Lawyer Who Listens

Located in Knoxville, Cameron Bell, Attorney At Law, serves clients throughout Knox County and offers free initial consultations. You can contact us via email or by calling 865-219-3545.