One frequently asked question about Tennessee drunk driving laws is why am I being charged with two violations . Most police officers only charge one drunk driving violation in the original arrest warrant . Once the case is presented to the Grand Jury , the prosecutors often add an additional charge if a blood or breath test is going to be offered into evidence.
First , you are charged with driving ‘ Under the Influence" . It is found under Tennessee Code Annotated 55-10-401 (a)(1) . Under the influence is a broad term to encompass when a person’s ability to operate a car , truck , or motorcycle is impaired . Last year the legal definition changed and I expect it will be changed again this year .
Secondly , you can be charged under the " DUI Per Se " law. You are guilty of drunk driving if your blood or breath alcohol is .08% or higher .. So the state will try to convict someone on either legal theory . One good thing is you can’t be convicted of both and receive two sentences . The convictions merge into one conviction by operation of law .
So , that’s the short answer to two charges . If the jury does not trust the chemical test or the basic facts of the case . The jury or the judge has an out for a guilty verdict .