Imagine driving home after a fun night out with friends, singing along to your favorite song on the radio and thinking about that one particular person you hope to see again soon, when, suddenly, you glance in your rear-view mirror and see flashing red and blue lights. In seconds, you realize a Tennessee police officer is pulling you over. The only problem is you don't know why.
If you've experienced this type of situation, you understand how nerve racking it can be. Perhaps, you and the officer will exchange a few words, a warning will be issued, and you'll be sent on your merry way, or, if your car was traveling a little too close to the yellow line or you slowed down because visibility was poor, the officer might ask you to step out of your vehicle and inform you that you're suspected of drunk driving.
What to do if the "B" word is mentioned
It's typically within your best interests to be polite and cooperate as much as possible (without incriminating yourself) with the officer who has pulled you over. However, if you receive a request to take a Breathalyzer test, you have an important decision to make. Will you comply or refuse? You may be able to avoid certain problems if you are armed with information ahead of time. The following are a few facts regarding breath test devices:
- Breathalyzer machines and other devices detect various types of alcohol in your blood as well as your mouth. So, if you have used a mouthwash in the recent past, the alcohol it likely contained would register on the device.
- Many people have been unsuccessful in their attempts to fool these machines. It's usually best to perform the test to the best of your ability once you consent to it.
- In Tennessee, you can face charges of an implied consent violation if you refuse to submit to a Breathalyzer or other chemical test when lawfully requested to do so by a law enforcement agent.
- The officer who pulled you over is able to choose whether to request a breath, blood or urine test (or all three) at his or her own discretion.
- In Tennessee, you don't have a right to consult an attorney before consenting or refusing a breath test.
Your decision regarding a Breathalyzer or other chemical testing can obviously bear a significant impact on the outcome of your situation. If you wind up facing drunk driving charges, and you believe there was a violation of your rights in some way and/or you are not guilty, you can take appropriate steps to address the situation in court. An experienced criminal defense attorney (because drunk driving is a crime, not a traffic violation) can be of great assistance as you navigate the criminal justice system.