Yes, it is true. You can be charged and convicted of DUI even though you were not driving the vehicle at the time of the arrest of the driver. In fact, it is possible to be charged and convicted of DUI even if you are not in the car!
To start off, it is against the law in Tennessee to be in the physical control of a motor vehicle while under the influence of any drug, intoxicant, alcohol, etc. If you are caught being in physical control of a motor vehicle under the influence, you will be arrested for DUI. But, what if you have had too much to drink and you feel your spouse, roommate, or friend is in better shape to drive than you? Or, what if someone wants to borrow your vehicle to go home or make a "quick" run to the store? Well, before handing over the keys to your vehicle, it may be a good idea to make sure that person has not had anything to drink.
In Tennessee, there is a statute/law that addresses the criminal responsibility for the conduct of another person. A portion of this statute says that a person is criminally responsible for the conduct of another if a person is "acting with the intent to promote or assist in the commission of an offense." Simply put, if you hand the keys to someone who is under the influence and they drive your vehicle, with your permission, it may be argued that you acted with the "intent to promote the commission of the offense," the DUI. In other words, you are criminally responsible for the conduct of impaired driver. In Tennessee, this is often referred to as a charge of "DUI by Consent" or "DUI by Allowance." And, the penalties for allowing another person to operate your vehicle while under the influence are the same as the actual DUI penalties, which include loss of driving privileges and jail time!
The penalties for DUI are substantial. A DUI conviction cannot be removed from a person's criminal record; if convicted, it is a permanent conviction. However, it is important to remember that just because a person is charged with DUI, "DUI by Allowance" or any other criminal offense, DUI related or otherwise, this does not mean there is going to be a criminal conviction. There may be defenses. Sometimes, there may be lots of defenses! However, you may not be aware of the possible defenses unless you are represented by an attorney competent in criminal defense and DUI defense.
If you are charged with DUI, a DUI related offense, or any other criminal offense, contact the attorneys at Parkerson Santel PLLC at 615-956-7938.