TENNESSEE – A Court of Criminal Appeals judge charged with drunk driving has been suspended from hearing cases until the outcome of his criminal case is determined.

“Given that he has been charged in Knoxville with driving under the influence of an intoxicant, Judge Jerry L. Smith has requested, and I have agreed, that he will not hear or be assigned any cases coming before the Court of Criminal Appeals pending resolution of the charge,” said Presiding Judge Joseph M. Tipton in a statement.

The Tennessee Supreme Court’s Code of Judicial Conduct states that judges “shall respect and comply with the law,” but there is no law that prevents them from hearing cases when facing a misdemeanor charge.

Smith, 58, was stopped by Knoxville police just after 11:30 p.m. Monday after an officer noticed Smith’s 2010 Subaru Forester had its rear hatch open and a piece of luggage was about to fall out.

When the officer approached Smith, he smelled of alcohol, had slurred speech and could not perform field sobriety tests. Smith refused a blood alcohol test and was brought into custody on DUI charges.

This is Smith’s first DUI offense, which has been charged as a misdemeanor. He was released on his own recognizance after spending roughly 3 1/2 hours in a Knoxville jail to sober up.

A DUI conviction can lead to several penalties, including license revocation, community service and jail time. If you have been arrested for DUI in Tennessee, there is still a way for you to fight your charges. Turn to a DUI lawyer in Tennessee for help immediately.

Tennessee DUI lawyers will make sure your charges are either significantly reduced or wiped out altogether. Contact a DUI attorney right away to contest your charges and protect your rights.