Southaven, Horn Lake, Olive Branch and Hernando residents that routinely visit establishments in Memphis, TN need to be aware of recent changes to TN laws regarding DUI or driving under the influence.
On January 1, 2011, new DUI laws went into effect in Tennessee. The new laws require convicted DUI offenders who have a blood alcohol content of .15 or higher to install an ignition interlock device in their vehicle in order to have a restricted driver’s license. Ignition interlocks require the driver to blow into a device to detect any alcohol use. If it detects alcohol the engine will not start. Other notable changes: the ignition locks will also be required if a minor was in your car at the time of the offense; you were involved in an alcohol-related wreck; or you violate the implied consent law. DUI fines will also be increased to cover the cost of installing, monitoring and removing the ignition devices from vehicles. These are the highlights from theSenate Bill No.2965 to amend the Tennessee Code which was passed and approved in May of 2010.
Mothers Against Drunk Driving is pushing for even tougher laws to be added in Tennessee as well as other states. The organization does support the use of ignition interlock devices, but did not support the Tennessee law in its current form because leaders feel it falls short of MADD’s goals. “Which is to mandate is to mandate ignition interlocks for all convicted DUI offenders,” explains Laura Dial, the executive director of MADD in Tennessee. MADD said that high BAC limits for the ignition devices, like Tennessee’s .15 or higher, has not proven effective in other states, but that in states with all-offender laws in place for anyone convicted of DUI, alcohol-related fatalities dropped by as much 30 percent.
With continued pressure from advocacy groups such as MADD, and politicians looking for ways to appear “tough on crime”, these types of changes to the DUI law will likely continue in years to come. These types of changes make it more important than ever to find quality representation from an experienced DUI attorney. The law is becoming more complex and the punishment and repercussions of a DUI conviction are becoming increasingly severe.