If you have been charged with a DUI in the greater Memphis area, you need a knowledgeable and confident Memphis Criminal Defense Attorney who will fight to protect your rights and freedoms.

You head out for a night on the town. You have a few drinks. You get pulled over by the police. And the next thing you know, the officer orders you out of your car and asks you to perform roadside field sobriety tests, to take blood and/or breath tests. You are shocked and confused when you are arrested, handcuffed, and placed in the back of his squad car.

Driving under the influence is an incredibly common charge in Tennessee. Any number of people have a drink or two and feel fine to drive, but a police officer spots them driving in a way that suggests impairment and pulls them over. If the officer claims to smell alcohol, that your eyes look bloodshot, and that your speech is slurred, you may soon find yourself facing an unexpected DUI charge.

In Tennessee, the consequences of a conviction for a DUI can be shocking and harsh. A DUI arrest does not have to mean mandatory jail time, probation, alcohol/drug treatment, and having your driving privileges revoked with an experienced DUI Lawyer to steer you through the process for the best results possible.

Call (901) 552-6228 today to schedule a consultation with Attorney Joseph Pehanick.


Driving Under the Influence, or DUI, is not only a serious crime in Tennessee that carries mandatory jail time, fines, and license revocation, but also is one of the most legally complex cases in our justice system. DUI laws are legally complex issues because of continually changing statutes, complicated constitutional law issues, and advanced science in blood and breath testing. 

To be convicted of a DUI, Tennessee law requires that beyond a reasonable doubt you were: 

  • Operating or in physical control of

  • A motor vehicle

  • On any public road, highway, alley, parking lot, or other premises generally frequented by the public

  • While under the influence or alcohol or drugs, or with a blood alcohol content of .08% or higher.

To effectively defend your constitutional rights and defend against your DUI arrest, you need an experienced Memphis Criminal Defense Attorney with knowledge in Tennessee DUI laws, who will challenge the reliability of impairment tests and blood-alcohol tests. Our legal team has the experience necessary to help you understand complex legal issues and a proven track record in defending DUI cases.

If you have been charged with a DUI, you need a Memphis Criminal Defense Lawyer who will fight for your fundamental rights. Because DUI offenses can carry very harsh penalties, you need an experienced criminal defense attorney who will fight for a reduction of the charges against you and dismissal when police violate your fundamental rights. Our firm has successfully defended many DUI and reckless driving charges in Memphis, Tennessee.


How can an officer determine if I am under the influence?

An officer will take into consideration your driving behaviors, your reaction to the officer’s emergency signals, your ability to divide your attention once stopped, your physical demeanor, speech, eyes, ability to walk, odor, and your ability to perform field sobriety test.

What are field sobriety tests?

Field sobriety tests are physical coordination tests administered to an individual suspected of a DUI. Three tests have been standardized in Tennessee: the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN), Heel to Toe, and One Leg Stand tests. 

HGN Test: is performed by having your eyes follow the officer’s pen or finger as it moves from side to side, while keeping your head still. The officer is looking for an involuntary jerking of the eye that may be an indication of intoxication. 

Heel to Toe Test: requires you to take 9 steps heel-to-toe along a line, followed by a turn, and 9 steps back in the same direction. The officer is looking for 8 specific indicators of impairment. 

One Leg Stand Test: requires you to stand with one foot about 6 inches off the ground and to count to a specified number or until told to stop. The officer is looking for 4 indicators of impairment. 

Other non-standard tests can include a finger count, backward count, alphabet test, and finger to nose test. These are non-standard because they have not been proven to indicate impairment.

How is my blood alcohol content measured?

Your blood alcohol content or BAC can be determined by a breath test, blood, test, or urine analysis. It is in the officer’s discretion which test will be administered, you cannot choose which test to do. An experienced DUI attorney can question the reliability of these tests and can prevent these test results from being used as evidence against you in court.

What is implied consent and refusal?

An Implied Consent Violation occurs when you refuse to submit to a breath, blood, or urine test to determine you blood-alcohol content. If you choose to refuse these tests, your driving privileges may be subject to automatic suspension. The penalties will vary in each case depending upon the specific facts and circumstances.

What are the penalties for DUI?

1st Offense – up to 11 months and 29 day sentence

  • 48 hours in jail

  • If BAC .20 or greater then minimum jail time 7 consecutive days

  • $350-$1,500 fine

  • License revocation for 1 year

  • Restricted Driver’s License available

  • Ignition Interlock Device installed at your expense. Minimum costs could exceed $1000.

  • Alcohol safety school or victim impact panel

  • Alcohol and drug treatment may be ordered at Judge’s discretion

2nd Offense – up to 11 months and 29 day sentence 

  • 45 days in jail

  • $600-$3,500 mandatory fine

  • License revocation for 2 years

  • Restricted Driver’s License available

  • Subject to vehicle seizure/forfeiture

  • Ignition Interlock

  • Alcohol and drug treatment program

3rd Offense – up to 11 months and 29 day sentence

  • 120 days in jail

  • $1,000-$10,000 fine

  • License revocation 6 years

  • Restricted Driver’s License available

  • Subject to vehicle seizure/forfeiture

  • Ignition Interlock

  • Alcohol and drug treatment program

4th and subsequent offense – Class E felony 1-6 year sentence 

  • 365 days in jail with a minimum of 150 days consecutively served

  • $3,000 to $15,000 fine

  • License revocation for 8 years

  • No restricted Driver’s License

  • Subject to vehicle seizure/forfeiture

  • Ignition Interlock

  • Alcohol and drug treatment program

What are the costs to reinstate Driver’s License after DUI offense?

  • $100 reinstatement fee

  • $50 filing of financial responsibility if SR-22 required

  • $75 fee for failure to surrender driver license may be required

  • Appropriate driver license application fees