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DUI / 5.03.2024

New Tennessee DUI Tracking Device Law

What's New with Tennessee DUI Laws?

As of January 1, 2024, a new Tennessee law has taken effect requiring all Ignition Interlock Devices (IIDs), also known as Ignition Breathalyzers, to be armed with GPS technology that will geotag the vehicle’s location any time the driver completes a breathalyzer test, attempts to circumvent the test or skips a test. 

The purpose of these devices is to ensure that drivers who have been convicted of DUI are not able to operate their vehicle if they are currently under the influence, keeping drunk drivers off of the roads in Tennessee and the purpose of the new law is to add another layer of protection from drunk drivers.

What is an Ignition Interlock Device?

An Ignition Interlock Device (IID) is essentially a breathalyzer test that requires a person who has been previously convicted of DUI to blow into the device before being allowed to operate their vehicle and periodically while driving the vehicle. 

According to Tennessee law, the driver’s breath alcohol concentration must be below 0.02% for the vehicle to start. These devices are able to stop drivers from DUI while still allowing them to go about their normal lives without losing their driver’s license.

What the New Law Does NOT Do

This new law does not change current DUI laws in any way other than allowing for GPS to be added to the IIDs. It does not allow the GPS to be used to track the vehicles or have a continuous GPS tracking of the vehicle or driver. It actually requires that the GPS not continuously track the location of the vehicle. 

It does not allow any law enforcement to track the vehicle from the GPS signal beyond the geotag that it delivers when the breathalyzer is used. GPS data is only transmitted when the breathalyzer is used to start the vehicle, periodically while driving or skipped by the driver. 

The new law does not restrict where the driver can go or report any locations other than when the breathalyzer is used. It does not track any passengers in the vehicle or report any information on passengers.

Potential Benefits of the New Law

Ignition Interlock Devices are used as a physical and social deterrent to drunk driving. It can be embarrassing for a driver to have a passenger see him or her using their IID to start the vehicle. There is also the absolute deterrent of being unable to start the vehicle if your breath alcohol concentration is too high. 

As an additional deterrent, the driver knows that the new law gives police a location if the device detects that the driver has attempted to circumvent the device by having someone else blow into it or if the driver’s blood alcohol is above the set level. The most significant benefit of the IID is that it will not allow you to drive under the influence of alcohol. A person may plan to have a different way home but once alcohol becomes involved, all good intentions go out the window. The IID keeps you on the straight and narrow until you are clear-headed enough to keep yourself there again. 

Essentially, the new law adds another layer of incentive for the driver to remain sober while driving and keeps Tennessee roads safer for us all while allowing drivers who are often first time offenders with DUI convictions to keep their driver’s licenses and their jobs, providing for themselves and their families.

Potential Concerns About the New Law

Many are concerned that the new law will infringe upon the privacy of the driver or their passengers by tracking them without cause. While the GPS is not constantly tracking you, it does report locations any time the device is used, which would also provide some form of tracking of any passengers in your vehicle. 

Other concerns include accusations of tampering, data security and faulty location causing concerns with court jurisdiction. GPS glitches are a common issue, so this concern can be valid. In addition, data storage and security is a significant concern. The possibility of an unauthorized person using this GPS data to stalk the driver can be a major concern.

How a Criminal Defense Attorney Can Help in Your Tennessee DUI Case

Don’t face a DUI charge alone. A DUI charge can be a complex and stressful situation. An experienced DUI attorney can be a valuable asset in helping you navigate the legal process and potentially achieve a better outcome for your case. If you have concerns about the new IID law in Tennessee, an attorney can explain your privacy rights and how the law can affect you. 

The experienced attorneys at Herbert & Lux will provide you with a free case review and work tirelessly to ensure the best possible outcome for you.

Herbert & Lux Attorneys at Law

If you are facing criminal charges, do not go into the fight alone. Let the dedicated attorneys at Herbert & Lux Attorneys at Law are here to fight for your rights. Contact us today to schedule your free consultation. 

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