While I was in General Sessions Court in Cheatham County this week , I learned of the District Attorney’s new procedure on handling the implied consent component of a Tennessee DUI charge. If a citizen exercises their right to refuse to submit to a breath or blood alcohol test after a police officer has reasonable suspicion to believe one is driving under the influence of alcohol ., the officer also charges you for a violation of the implied consent charge. For those arrested by the Ashland City Police Department , the Cheatham County Sheriff’s Office or the Tennessee Highway Patrol , expect to have a hearing on your first court appearance. In Cheatham County criminal cases , the first court date is an arraignment date . An arraignment date in Cheatham County General Sessions is usually just to enter a plea of guilty or not guilty then it is reset to the arresting officers first court.
Tennessee’s law on the timing of the implied consent charge changed recently. Under T.C.A. 55-10-406(a)(4)(A) , a determination of the implied consent violation shall be made at the driver’s first appearance or the preliminary hearing in the general sessions court, but no later than the case being bound over to the grand jury. If they force you to have a hearing unprepared , you will probally lose your license while fighting your DUI case.
So what is the solution. Hire a experienced DUI attorney. Fight the case from the beginning. If the officer is not there at the first court date , move to dismiss the violation. Appeal it. There are other ways as well. Fight fire with fire.