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Blood-Alcohol Concentration (BAC) Testing

Tennessee BACNationwide, it is illegal to operate a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs, or if the BAC is .08% or above (a BAC of .08% means that eight tenths of one percent of a person’s blood volume is alcohol.) A person who has a BAC of .08% or greater is legally intoxicated, and is presumed unable to drive a vehicle safely and responsibly

Effects of BAC

According to scientific research, the effects of alcohol has a progressive impact on people, with the following observations based on BAC::

  • 0.01% – 0.02%:  Generally normal in appearance; minimal signs of impairment.
  • 0.03% – 0.05%:  Mild euphoria, mild relaxation, decreased inhibition, some inability to concentrate.
  • 0.06% – 0.09%:  Lack of inhibition, altered sense of reasoning and loss of depth perception.
  • 0.10% – 0.19%:  Emotional mood swings, diminished reflexes and reaction time, and reduced motor control.
  • 0.20% – 0.29%:  Unconsciousness or a lack of understanding, severe lack of motor control.

Bases for DUI in Tennessee

It is illegal to operate a motor vehicle in the state of Tennessee with a BAC of .08% or higher (.02% for people under the age of 21 and .04% for people with commercial driver’s license).  In addition to driving with a BAC above .08%, anyone can be arrested and charged with DUI for operating a motor vehicle while impaired by drugs and/or alcohol.  In some cases, police officers will make an arrest and charge a person with DUI even after they have determined the suspect’s BAC was under the legal limit of .08%. The decision to arrest and charge someone with DUI if the BAC is less than .08% is based solely on the police officer’s opinion that the suspect is not fit to operate a motor vehicle.

Testing BAC in Tennessee

In Tennessee, a police officer has the choice of administering any one of the following tests:  1) breath, 2) blood or 3) urine. The most common test for BAC in Tennessee is the breath test; however, because of the Tennessee case law and challenges to the breath testing apparatus, some jurisdictions only administer the blood test.  Sometimes, after the suspect passes the breath test, the police officer will subject the suspect to a blood test, looking for drugs in the person’s system that are not detected by the breathalyzer.  If a police officer suspects that a driver has been driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs, Tennessee’s implied consent law allows the police officer to request a sample for the purpose of determining BAC.  If the suspect refuses the police officer’s request, the person will be charged with violation of the Tennessee Implied Consent Law, and upon conviction, the person will lose the right to drive for a period of one year.

Hire an Experienced Nashville DUI Lawyer

At Turner Law Offices, P.C., our DUI attorneys are familiar with all methods of testing for blood alcohol concentration (BAC).  The blood test is not fool-proof, and there are numerous reasons that the BAC results are incorrect.  Our experienced DUI attorneys at Turner Law Offices, P.C. will meet with you and discuss the method of blood alcohol testing, and will discuss any legal defenses you may have.  Request Free Initial Consultation Online or call today for a free, no obligation in person consultation with one of our experienced DUI attorneys.

(615) 259-2660

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