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Tougher BUI Law Now in Effect for Tennessee Boaters

Posted on in Criminal Defense

Jacksboro BUI defense lawyerThere is no better place to spend summer than in the state of Tennessee, especially with the abundance of beautiful lakes and state parks Campbell County has to offer. Both residents and visitors to the area have plenty of places to enjoy swimming, boating, fishing, and other water activities. Unfortunately, along with those activities often comes the consumption of alcohol. If you are planning on doing any kind of boating, it is important to be aware of the state’s new boating under the influence (BUI) law that recently went into effect.

Boating Under the Influence Law in Tennessee

In Tennessee, if a boat operator has a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 percent or higher, that operator is considered over the legal limit, the same BAC applied to someone driving a vehicle. While it has always been illegal to operate a boat while under the influence in Tennessee, the penalties for conviction were not as harsh as those for driving under the influence (DUI). But the new law changes that. In fact, the law, which went into effect July 1, mirrors the state’s drunk driving laws.

Under the prior law, penalties were discretionary, meaning the sentencing judge had latitude. With the new law, all penalties are mandatory:

  • First offense - Charged as a Class A misdemeanor. Conviction means a sentence of not less than 48 hours but not more than 11 months 29 days. A BAC of 0.20 percent or higher results in a minimum of seven days and not 48 hours. The conviction will also result in a fine of between $250 to $2,500 and loss of privilege to operate a vessel for up to one year.

  • Second offense - Charged as a Class A misdemeanor. Conviction means a sentence of not less than 45 days but not more than 11 months 29 days. The conviction will also result in a fine of between $500 to $2,500 and loss of privilege to operate a vessel for up to two years.

  • Third offense - Charged as a Class A misdemeanor. Conviction means a sentence of not less than 120 days but not more than 11 months 29 days. The conviction will also result in a fine of between $1,000 to $5,000 and loss of privilege to operate a vessel for a minimum of three years but not to exceed 10 years.

  • Fourth offense - Charged as a felony. Conviction means a sentence of not less than 150 consecutive days but no more than the maximum punishment authorized for the appropriate range of a Class E felony.

Contact a Campbell County Defense Attorney for Legal Assistance

The new penalties for BUI all include mandatory jail time and significant fines, as well as loss of boating privileges. A conviction will also go on your permanent record and could have an impact on your future, including employment opportunities and housing options. If you have been arrested for BUI, contact The Law Office of William F. Evans at 423-449-7980 to schedule a free and confidential consultation with a seasoned Jacksboro, TN BUI lawyer.

 

Source:

https://wapp.capitol.tn.gov/apps/BillInfo/Default.aspx?BillNumber=SB0246

 

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