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The ins and outs of implied consent

If you like watching police shows or courtroom dramas, you probably heard the term "implied consent" a time or two. How does it affect real-life interactions with law enforcement during a DUI stop?

Knowing your rights under Tennessee statutes when it comes to implied consent is imperative should you find yourself stopped by police.

What is it?

Implied consent is an agreement you made when you got a driver's license. You may not remember it, but if you have a driver's license, you agreed to it. Simply put, you consented to submit a breath or blood test should an officer request it. If you refuse, you may have your license revoked for one year.

What is the purpose?

Implied consent allows law enforcement personnel to obtain evidence of impairment immediately without requiring a warrant. The purpose? If a police officer needs to wait on a warrant to test a blood alcohol content, either by breath or blood, the measurement will not be accurate. If it takes an hour to get a warrant, and then another hour to draw blood, the officer can only guesstimate as to what your level of actual intoxication was at the time of the stop.

Is there a way around it?

Tennessee has some of the strictest DUI laws in the country. One of the elements of the law is the implied consent violation statute. According to this law, if law enforcement pulls you over on suspicion of DUI, and you refuse the requested test, not only is your license revoked, but you would face additional charges for violating the implied consent law. Last year, the legislature modified the additional violation laws. You can no longer face increased fines and other penalties for refusing a blood or breath test. You can, however, still have your license taken away for the requisite time.

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