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Knoxville Boating Under the Influence Lawyers

Knox County, Tennessee boating under the influence attorney

Representing Clients Facing BUI Charges in Knoxville, Tennessee

Enjoying a day out on the water is a popular pastime in Tennessee, but it is important to remember that boating under the influence (BUI) is illegal. The laws regarding the use of alcohol and drugs when driving a car also apply when operating a boat, and BUI cases are handled in a similar manner as those involving driving under the influence (DUI). If you are arrested for BUI in Tennessee, you may face serious consequences. It is crucial to understand when you may be charged with BUI, the penalties you may face, and your options for defense.

At Jeffrey Coller, Knoxville Criminal Defense Attorney, we provide legal help and representation to people who have been charged with DUI or BUI. We are experienced in defending clients against accusations that they have put other people's safety at risk due to the use of drugs or alcohol when on the water. We can help you understand your rights in these situations, develop a strong defense strategy, and fight for the best possible outcome in your case.

When Can You Be Charged With BUI?

In Tennessee, you can be charged with boating under the influence if you were found to be operating a commercial vessel or another type of boat that was subject to registration, and one of the following was true:

  • Your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level was 0.08 percent or higher.
  • You were under the influence of any substance that limited your ability to operate a boat safely, including marijuana, narcotics, or other drugs or combinations of substances that affected your ability to maintain a clear mind and control yourself.

It is essential to note that the use of certain types of prescription medications can lead to impairment if they affect your ability to operate a vessel safely. The combination of different substances, such as alcohol and prescription drugs, can also lead to intoxication. If an officer believed that your use of substances impaired your ability to operate a boat safely, you could be charged with BUI.

Potential Penalties for BUI in Tennessee

If you are convicted of boating under the influence in Tennessee, you could face a number of consequences, including:

  • Fines of up to $2,500 for a first or second offense or $5,000 for a third offense.
  • Minimum jail time of 48 hours for a first offense, 45 days for a second offense, and 120 days for a third offense, with a maximum sentence of 11 months and 29 days in each case.
  • Suspension of your boat operation privileges for one year.
  • Probation for up to one year, which may include participation in an alcohol and drug treatment program and/or the completion of a court-approved boating and alcohol safety course.
  • Community service removing litter from public areas.

Possible Defense Strategies for BUI Charges

If you have been charged with BUI in Tennessee, it is crucial to consult with an experienced attorney who has a strong knowledge of this area of the law. At Jeffrey Coller, Knoxville Criminal Defense Attorney, we will thoroughly evaluate the circumstances surrounding your arrest and help you build a strong defense strategy. Here are some possible defense options:

  • Lack of probable cause: An officer must have had reasonable suspicion that you were intoxicated before stopping your boat or initiating a BUI investigation. If it can be demonstrated that there was no valid reason for a stop or search leading to your arrest, evidence obtained during that process may be suppressed.
  • Field sobriety tests and portable breathalyzer tests: The accuracy of tests performed by an officer to determine if you were intoxicated can be called into question. Factors such as weather conditions, physical disabilities, or incorrect administration of tests could affect the results. Your attorney may be able to challenge these tests and question whether you should have been arrested.
  • Procedural errors: Law enforcement officers must follow specific procedures during a BUI investigation and arrest. Any deviation from those protocols could potentially violate your rights, and this could make certain evidence inadmissible in court.

Your attorney will analyze the facts surrounding your case to determine which defenses may apply. We will work with you to develop the most effective strategy for achieving a favorable outcome.

Boating Under the Influence FAQs


What Is the Difference Between DUI and DWI in Tennessee?

Answer: DUI stands for "Driving Under the Influence." This is the official term used in Tennessee for the offense of drunk driving or driving while under the influence of drugs or other substances. Some other states use the term DWI, which stands for "Driving While Impaired" or "Driving While Intoxicated." These terms generally describe the same offense, which involves driving while under the influence of any substances that impair one's ability to operate a vehicle safely, including alcohol, drugs, or prescription medications.


What Is the Penalty for a First-Time DUI in Tennessee?

Answer: There are a few different things that can happen if you are convicted of a first-time DUI. For starters, if you are convicted, you will spend at least 48 hours in jail, although you may be sentenced to as long as 11 months and 29 days. You may also be required to pay fines up to $1,500, and you will have your driver's license taken away for one year. There is also a likely chance that you will be put on probation and required to attend DUI education at your own expense.


How Long are You in Jail for a DUI in Tennessee?

Answer: The length of a jail sentence following a DUI conviction will depend on a few factors. For example, longer sentences will usually apply for a second or third DUI as opposed to a first-time DUI. For a second-time DUI, you may face a minimum sentence of 45 days, but you could be required to serve up to 11 months and 29 days. You will spend at least 120 days in prison for a third DUI conviction. After your third DUI, you will face markedly stiffer penalties, as the DUI will be charged as a felony. As a result, you may be sentenced to one to six years or longer.


What Is the Penalty for Boating Under the Influence in Tennessee?

Answer: You can expect a fine of $2,500 for a first or second offense of boating under the influence (BUI). For a third or subsequent offense, the fine increases to $5,000. A first-time conviction can land someone in jail for at least 48 hours. For a second conviction, the minimum penalty is 45 days in prison. You will be sentenced to at least 120 days in prison for a third-time conviction. The maximum jail sentence for a first, second, or third BUI is 11 months and 29 days.


What Happens if You Get a BUI in Tennessee?

Answer: A BUI conviction will be handled in a similar fashion as a DUI charge. You can expect fines, possible prison time, a one-year revocation of your boating privileges, probation, and community service.


What Is the BUI Limit in Tennessee?

Answer: The legal limit for blood alcohol concentration (BAC) while operating a boat in Tennessee is 0.08%, which is the same as any other motor vehicle.


How Can a DUI/DWI/BUI Defense Attorney Help Me?

Answer: Your attorney will have experience defending clients against charges related to operating a motor vehicle—whether that be a boat, car, or anything else with a motor—while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. While DUI and BUI are different charges, they fall under the same umbrella, and convictions will carry similar penalties. Your lawyer will have an understanding of Tennessee laws that apply in cases involving drunk driving, and they can provide you with guidance on how to defend against DUI or BUI charges.

Contact Our Experienced Knoxville BUI Defense Attorney

If you are facing boating under the influence charges in Tennessee, it is important to seek legal representation from an attorney who understands how to navigate the complex laws that apply in these situations. At Jeffrey Coller, Knoxville Criminal Defense Attorney, we have extensive experience representing clients charged with BUI, DUI, and other criminal offenses. We will fight to protect your rights throughout every stage of your case. Contact our firm today at 865-281-1000 to schedule a free consultation and get the representation you need.

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