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BUI Charges: What to Know About Drinking and Boating in Tennessee

 Posted on May 11,2022 in DUI/DWI/BUI

Knoxville boating under the influence attorneyAs summer approaches, many Knox County residents are eager to make their vacation plans. Whether you are planning travels to new states or countries or are prepping for backyard barbecues with friends and family at home, there are many rules to remember to stay safe this summer — especially if you plan to go boating. A sunny boat day may be the perfect way to kick off summer for many Tennesseans, so reviewing the state laws for drinking and boating is essential. Just like driving a car, operating a boat comes with strict drinking laws to keep everyone safe for the summer.

Review of Drinking and Boating Laws

Drinking and boating laws are similar to drinking and driving laws. Although it is illegal to have an open container of alcohol in your car, it is legal to drink on a boat. Like driving, any individual operating the boat must remain within the legal alcohol limit, a blood alcohol concentration, or BAC, of 0.08 percent in Tennessee. Any BAC over the 0.08 percent threshold is over the legal limit and can be grounds for a BUI offense. Boaters in Tennessee give their implied consent to have their BAC tested.

Most BUI offenses are charged as a Class A misdemeanor, but the repercussions can vary depending on various factors. Aggravating factors, such as repeat offenses or other illicit drugs located on the boat can worsen a BUI sentence. A first offense can lead to $2,500 in fines, 11 months of jail time, and up to one year of a suspended boating license. A second offense may lead to a boating license suspension for two years. Any subsequent violations will lead to $5,000 in fines and extended boating license suspension. BUIs can also be charged as a federal offense by the Coast Guard.

What to Do If You Receive a BUI

If you have been charged with a BUI, it is vital to obtain legal representation as soon as possible. A BUI is a serious allegation, and it can lead to severe penalties. A skilled criminal defense attorney can help represent you and attempt to ensure a favorable outcome for your case. Typically, an attorney may defend your case by:

  • Challenging if the BUI stop was legal and there was reasonable cause to check the operator’s BAC
  • Questioning the accuracy of the BAC testing equipment

Contact a Knox County Defense Attorney Today

Knox County defense attorney Jeffrey Coller has years of experience aggressively representing his clients throughout the state of Tennessee. Call Jeffrey Coller, Knoxville Criminal Defense Attorney today for a free legal consultation and to review the details of your case at 865-281-1000.


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