DUI Controlled Substance or Drugged Driving

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In Tennessee, a person can be convicted of a DUI for more than simply driving with a certain blood alcohol content (BAC) level. A person can be convicted of a DUI for being under the influence of controlled substances, marijuana, and other substances. This is sometimes called “drugged driving.” If you are facing a DUI charge for being under the influence of a drug or other controlled substance, you need an experienced criminal defense attorney such as Philip Clark to help defend you from these charges.

Tennessee’s basic law on driving under the influence provides that it is unlawful to operate or be in physical control of a motor vehicle while:

“Under the influence of any intoxicant, marijuana, controlled substance, controlled substance analogue, drug, substance affecting the central nervous system, or combination thereof that impairs the driver’s ability to safely operate a motor vehicle by depriving the driver of the clearness of mind and control of oneself that the driver would otherwise possess;” Tenn. Code Ann. § 55-10-401(a)

This language clearly indicates that a person can be convicted of a DUI if they are under the influence of drugs other than alcohol. Tennessee law provides that law enforcement officers if they have probable cause can seek to have an individual submit to a breath or blood test to determine if the individual is under the influence of such a drug or controlled substance.

A blood test can determine what levels of a drug a person may have in their system near the time that they were operating a motor vehicle. An officer either needs to obtain the driver’s consent for a blood test or obtain a search warrant to draw blood from the individual.

Such blood tests must be conducted according to specific standards. Tennessee law does provide individuals with the opportunity to have their own test done of their sample to ensure that the results are reliable.

The standard penalty for a first DUI conviction is 48 hours in jail (though it technically could go up to 11 months and 29 days), and the standard fine is anywhere from a minimum of $350 to a maximum of $1,500. Those are not the only penalties or consequences of a  DUI conviction. A person will lose their driving privileges for a year and may have to undergo some form of treatment.

Need for a DUI Attorney

The evidence will be different in a controlled substance case than in an alcohol case. If the case goes to trial, the prosecution will have to put on the proof of a testing expert, someone with toxicology experience. An experienced criminal defense attorney, such as Philip Clark, will know what questions to ask the state’s witness.   

Needless to say the consequences for a DUI conviction are significant. Needless to say, the law surrounding the legalities of proper blood testing in a DUI case are complex. That is why if you are facing charges emanating from allegedly drugged driving, then you need to enlist the services of a criminal defense attorney well versed in constitutional criminal law principles.

Nashville-based criminal defense Philip Clark is an attorney who understands the nuances of defending against DUI charges from alleged drugged driving. He not only has handled many DUI cases, but he also formerly served as a police officer for nearly twenty (20) years.  He knows the ins and outs of the law enforcement community.  He also is a gifted negotiator and communicator who can speak to prosecutors effectively on your behalf.   If need be, he zealously can defend you in court before a judge and jurors. If you face DUI charges for being under the influence of an intoxicant, marijuana or a controlled substance, contact Philip Clark at (615) 678-1033 or e-mail him at philip@tncriminaldefenseattorney.com.

Connect with Philip N. Clark right away!
(615) 785-2000