Back in February, Knoxville’s Court of Criminal Appeals made a decision that could impact all of the State’s future DUI cases. The court ruled that a Tennessee law which allowed the Tennessee Bureau of Investigations (TBI) to receive $250 for each DUI conviction obtained through blood or alcohol tests was unconstitutional. Since the State only collects the fee when a person is found guilty, many believe that it provides an unfair incentive to produce guilty verdicts.
In March, the state attorney appealed the ruling on the grounds that it could negatively affect Tennessee’s DUI cases. The state attorney argued that the TBI would not risk tampering with evidence because anyone caught manipulating samples would be fired. Since then, law officials throughout the state have been waiting on a definite decision on whether or not the DUI fee would be gone for good. Now, it looks like the answer is closer than ever.
In May, the Tennessee Supreme Court began hearing arguments in the case. Both sides are adamant that their stance is correct, but a final ruling has yet to be made.
What Does This Mean For Current DUI Cases In Tennessee?
During the court hearings, some members of the Tennessee Supreme Court seemed to agree that the fee violated people’s right to a fair trial. However, other supreme court justices didn’t seem as convinced. In an interview with the Times Free Press, Chief Justice Jeffrey Bivins, said, "I don't think anyone is going to argue with you that it stinks to high heaven. But that doesn't rise to the level of a constitutional violation. What framework do we use?"
According to the story from the Times Free Press, "Chattanooga prosecutors have held off on DUI cases with blood results until the Tennessee Supreme Court has ruled." Since there is no timeline for the ruling, these cases could be halted for an indefinite period of time.
What To Do If You’re Facing a DUI Charge
No matter what the Tennessee Supreme Court decides in this case, if you’ve been arrested for a DUI, contacting a qualified DUI attorney should be your first line of defense. An attorney who specializes in DUI law can help you understand your situation and explain which steps should be taken to help ensure you have the most positive outcome.
Call For A Free Consultation Today
If you’re looking for more information on DUI cases for yourself or a loved one, you’ve come to the right place. Attorney Brian Nash has nearly a decade of experience working with a wide range of clients. He brings a vast amount of knowledge, drive, and determination to every case he works with. If you or someone you know is dealing with a DUI arrest, please contact Nash Law, PLLC today at 615-628-7555.
This article was written by the author on behalf of Nash Law, PLLC.