Michael Working was a main event speaker at the 2013 DUI College of the Tennessee Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers.

At the Working Law Firm, our Memphis driving under the influence (DUI) lawyers are committed to protecting the rights of individuals charged with driving under the influence and other alcohol-related offenses. We understand that you may be feeling nervous, embarrassed, or even hopeless. Fortunately, if you have been charged with driving under the influence, you have rights. Many individuals believe that if they are charged with drunk driving, they have no way to fight. Often, they believe the best they can hope for is to pay a smaller fine, avoid jail time, or getting their DUI reduced to a lesser charge. While these are all possibilities, the Memphis DUI lawyers at the Working Law Firm will fight to keep a DUI conviction off of your record.

Our Memphis DUI lawyers are committed to providing you with aggressive DUI defense from the outset. Our attorneys understand and know the exact procedures used by police officers when making a DUI arrest. This enables us to determine whether the arresting officer had reasonable suspicion/probable cause to stop/arrest you, determine whether the officer administered and scored your field sobriety test according to standards set by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and to develop possible challenges to your Breathalyzer results. Further, our Memphis DUI lawyers will go to the scene if necessary to develop additional challenges to your DUI arrest.

Questions and Answers:

1. When am I too impaired to drive?
In Tennessee, no driver is allowed to operate a motor vehicle when 8% (.08) or more of their blood content is alcohol. Driver’s are also too impaired to operate a vehicle when alcohol affects their ability to drive, even if alcohol content is less than 8%.

2. Are DWI and DUI different crimes?
Some states call the crime “driving while intoxicated,” but, in Tennessee, it’s called “driving under the influence.”

3. Does that mean I can sleep it off in my car?
No! Anyone in physical control of their vehicle can be charged with DUI. If you have the keys inside the vehicle, even in your pocket, you can be charged with driving under the influence. After all, many people wake up and think they are sober, but are not.

4. Can DUI be expunged?
No. Current Tennessee law states that a DUI conviction will remain on your record forever. Granted, this law is not close to being changed, but, other states, such as Mississippi, have recently passed legislation allowing for DUI expungement under certain circumstances. With other states finally allowing this crime to be expunged, it is hopeful that DUI will someday be expungeable in Tennessee.

5. Is DUI a felony?
Not for the 1st, 2nd or 3rd offense. A 4th offense DUI is a felony.

6. Will I go to jail?
Yes. All people charged with DUI have to post a $1,000 bond once they are arrested. This process can take 12-20 hours in Memphis. The minimum punishment for DUI 1st is 48 hours in jail, 2nd offense is 45 days, and 3rd offense is 120 days.

7. Do I need a lawyer?
Yes. Driving under the influence carries a mandatory minimum jail sentence and a one year revocation of your Driver’s License if convicted.

8. What does a Memphis DUI lawyer cost?
The price of a DUI lawyer in Memphis ranges from about $500 to $2,500 for General Sessions. In Criminal Court it can range all the way up to $15000 for trial. Be careful what you pay for at both ends of the scale.

9. Do I have to plead guilty?
Of course not! That is the whole point of having a lawyer. A lawyer can work out a plea bargain, or defend you at trial and argue that you were not impaired.

10. What is implied consent?
When applying for a Driver’s License, all Tennessee drivers agree to submit to a Blood Alcohol Test if there is reasonable suspicion to suspect someone is driving under the influence.

11. How does a Breathalyzer machine work?
A Breathalyzer machine works by measuring the amount of alcohol on your breath to determine the alcohol content of your blood. Specifically, It tests the amount of alcohol digested and passed into your liquid blood by measuring the ethanol gas present in your mouth. Many scientists who have concerns about the reliability of this method.

There are five different machines used throughout the country to measure alcohol on the breath. According to several studies the machine used in Tennessee is considered the least reliable of the five.

Many factors can make the machine unreliable, such as burping, coughing or sneezing twenty minutes before you blow. Even chewing sugarless gum, which is made with alcohol can effect the accuracy of a breath test.

The Breathalyzer requires a citizen to submit to an inaccurate test or go to jail.

12. Will I lose my license?
It depends. A DUI conviction (different from the arrest) will suspend your license for a minimum of one year. That said, refusing to submit to a field sobriety test, regardless of whether you are convicted of the underlying DUI, will automatically suspend your license for one year.

13. Should I submit to a blood alcohol, field sobriety or Breathalyzer test?
No. As a lawyer, I would not.

14. Can I refuse a blood draw?
It depends. If you have a prior DUI conviction, were involved in an accident in which an injury occurred, or were traveling with a minor under the age of 16, then you cannot refuse a blood draw.

15. Can I beat a DUI charge?
Absolutely. DUI defense is highly technical and requires a clear understanding of the science and techniques used by police officers to support your DUI conviction.