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b2ap3_thumbnail_marijuana-drugged-driving-pot-DUI.jpgDrunk driving is known to be dangerous, and drivers understand that they can face criminal charges of driving under the influence (DUI) if they operate a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) above the legal limit of .08%. However, some people may not realize that they can also face DUI charges if they drive after using other types of drugs or intoxicating substances. Driving while under the influence of marijuana has become a larger concern for law enforcement in recent years, especially since several states have made this drug legal for both recreational and medical uses. While marijuana remains illegal in Tennessee, some people may travel to other states where it is legal, and drivers will want to understand the potential consequences they could face if they are charged with DUI related to marijuana or other drugs.

Drug-Related DUI Charges

Under Tennessee law, it is illegal to be in physical control of a vehicle on a public road or highway while under the influence of marijuana, controlled substances, drugs that affect the central nervous system, or other types of intoxicants. A person will be considered intoxicated if a substance or a combination of different substances affects the clearness of their mind and their self-control, causing them to be unable to operate a vehicle safely.

DUI charges related to marijuana or other substances are charged the same as for a driver who is intoxicated by alcohol. If a chemical test shows that a driver has any amount of marijuana or illegal drugs in their system, they may face DUI charges. A person may also be charged with DUI if they use prescription drugs such as opioids that impair their driving ability, or even if they use over-the-counter drugs such as cold or cough medicines that cause drowsiness or affect their clarity of mind.


Campbell County criminal defense attorney BUI

Toward the beginning of 2020, Tennessee legislators introduced a bill that would work to align penalties between boating under the influence (BUI) and driving under the influence (DUI). It is probably good timing too because, after a sharp decline in boating-related deaths in 2019, 2020 saw the highest amount of boating-related deaths in nearly four decades for Tennessee. While it is true that some of these deaths could have been prevented with the proper safety measures being taken, many of them might have been caused by BUI. If this bill passes to align BUI penalties with DUI penalties, then both crimes would lead to equally severe punishments, making representation for a BUI arrest even more critical. Here is an update on the bill’s movement in the state legislature so you know what to expect this year.

Latest News on the New BUI Bill in Tennessee

The bill is the BUI Bill, HB0679, SB0246, and it explicitly states in its original form that it aims to mirror the penalties associated with DUI in Tennessee with those for BUI, meaning in the eyes of the law, both crimes will be considered equal in terms of the seriousness of crime and severity of punishment.


Campbell County criminal defense attorney DUI

If you are ever arrested for driving under the influence (DUI), you need to realize that in Tennessee, a DUI is a very serious criminal offense and not just a minor traffic violation. If you do not realize this, you are not alone—nearly half of Americans across the nation do not consider DUI or DWI charges a criminal charge with criminal consequences under most circumstances. 

This could be for many reasons, one of which is the fact that every state has its own laws about drunk driving—Wisconsin for one has first-time DUI offenses punishable as traffic violations while subsequent DUI charges are considered criminal. In New Jersey, all DUIs are treated as traffic offenses. Even in New York, the law is a bit more lenient with regards to what is considered criminal concerning DUIs--first-offense DUI and second-offense DUI charges are viewed as traffic infractions while third-time DUI introduces criminality into the charges.


Campbell County criminal law attorney DUI

A first-time DUI (driving under the influence) is a very serious charge even though it is the first offense. Tennessee takes all DUI very seriously; therefore, even first-time DUI carries with it severe consequences, some on par with other similar charges of higher degrees. However, the judicial system can be somewhat forgiving, especially if you have a talented, knowledgeable, and experienced criminal defense lawyer by your side. First, you must realize the consequences, then you can consider what to do if charged so that this never happens again.

Consequences of First-Time DUI in Tennessee

While it might only be your first time receiving a DUI charge, if convicted, you could face relatively severe penalties, including the following punishments:


Campbell County criminal defense attorney DUI

The holidays are here, and even with the pandemic still surging throughout Tennessee and the country, for that matter, there is still an increased likelihood of drunk driving on the roads. This means that the police in Tennessee will be more vigilant about stopping drivers for a wide variety of traffic violations but, most importantly and notably, they are going to be especially focused on pulling people over for DUI. With that in mind, here is a refresher on some tips for what to do should you be pulled over this holiday for DUI to avoid any criminal charges. 

Your Actions During a Traffic Stop Matter

There are several things you could do if pulled over for DUI this holiday that are common sense, but there are other steps to take that you might not even think about doing. Whatever the case might be, here are some tips for what to do if you are pulled over for DUI this holiday:

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