Local law firm challenges validity of DUI fees - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Local law firm challenges validity of DUI fees

Posted: Updated:
CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) - A Chattanooga law firm is challenging whether the fees DUI offenders have to pay are constitutional.

Tennesseans convicted of DUI have to pay a $250 fine to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation for blood tests.

The law firm of Summers, Rufolo & Rodgers calls that a conflict of interest, saying all that money gives the TBI reason to go for more DUI convictions. Now all three criminal court judges are reviewing the motion to determine the validity of the statute that gives money to the TBI.

"The TBI has a financial stake in each of these convictions in which they test blood," said attorney Ben McGowan. "The options at this point are for the court to determine if the statutes are constitutional, to determine that it is constitutional and there are some lesser forms or relief that the court could provide."

All three criminal court judges are set to announce their decision November 3.

McGowan said his firm plans to ask the court to dismiss the DUI cases against 23 of their clients, including former Chattanooga police officer Christian Lorenzen, who has since resigned and moved to Massachusetts.

"At this point, he is one of the 23 defendants involved in this case and his case goes on like the rest of them and once we have a decision on this matter, we'll decide how to proceed with Mr. Lorenzen's case," McGowan said.

Lorenzen was excused from attending Monday's court hearing. The Tennessee Highway Patrol arrested him in April 2013 for DUI, possession of a handgun while under the influence and speeding in a work zone. He originally had the DUI charge dismissed until he was indicted by the grand jury.

Lorenzen's case was one of 2,800 handled by a TBI lab employee who was eventually fired for mixing up a couple blood alcohol tests.


Powered by Frankly