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Knoxville, TN 37902

knoxville bui lawyerThe “official” start of summer is just weeks away and Knox County residents are busy making their summer plans. Included in many people’s plans are boating and personal watercraft activities. However, there is often alcohol consumption involved in those activities, and that consumption can result in the day ending in a boating under the influence (BUI) charge. A new BUI law was recently signed into law by the governor that now aligns penalties for BUI with the penalties for driving under the influence (DUI) in Tennessee.

State Offense

In Tennessee, just as in most states, the laws for drinking and operating a boat are similar to drinking and driving a vehicle. Any boat operator who has a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 percent or more is considered over the legal limit and can be charged with BUI.

If you are charged with a BUI in Tennessee, it will typically be charged as a Class A misdemeanor. The penalties for conviction are:

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Blount County criminal defense attorney for DUIA Tennessee DUI conviction can lead to harsh consequences. Even a first offense conviction results in mandatory jail time. Under Tennessee law, anyone who is operating a vehicle and has a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 percent or higher can be found guilty of driving under the influence. Not only can a conviction result in the loss of driving privileges, but it can also have a significant impact on all areas of a person’s life, both personally and professionally. Anyone who has been arrested for DUI should contact a Knoxville criminal defense attorney immediately.

DUI First Offense

Under current law, a driver convicted of a first-offense DUI faces between 48 hours and 11 and 29 days months of mandatory jail time. Their license will be revoked for one year and they will be required by the court to participate in an alcohol and drug treatment program. They will also be required to pay a fine of between $350 and $1,500. When their license is finally reinstated, they will be required to have an Ignition Interlock Device installed at their own expense.

DUI Second Offense

A second-offense DUI conviction results in a minimum of 45 days to 11 months and 29 days in jail and fines of between $600 and $3,500. A loss of license will last for two years. A person must also attend an alcohol and drug treatment program and have an Ignition Interlock Device installed. The court may also order the seizure or forfeiture of their vehicle.

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Knox County criminal defense attorney DUI

Universities and colleges have always been known for their parties and easy access to alcohol. Aside from the higher education that these academic institutions provide students, they also present many young adults with their first opportunity to live away from home. This opportunity of growth is important for those on the verge of adulthood, but it can also lead many students down the wrong path. Despite what movies or TV shows may show, the legal drinking age restriction of 21 still applies to college students. However, easy access to alcohol leads many students to believe that they are invincible. The following alcohol-related offenses are common on Tennessee college campuses, leaving many students with criminal charges on their record and in many cases, additional consequences from the university.

Possession and Consumption

With house parties on every street corner and tailgates occurring on a weekly basis, college students have numerous opportunities to get their hands on alcohol and drink it without their parents’ watchful eyes. Just a few drinks in and students can quickly forget about campus police that patrol the streets looking for intoxicated, underage students. Possession and consumption of alcohol are both illegal for those under the age of 21. So, if a student is found walking around campus, sober, carrying a pack of beer, he or she can still face criminal charges. Those students who are found drinking underage in Tennessee can be charged with a Class A misdemeanor, carrying 11 months of jail time, community service, fees, and having their driver’s license revoked. 

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Knox County criminal defense attorney DUI

Driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol is a frighteningly common offense that many Tennesseeans have on their record. Across the country, states have instilled a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit to ensure that drivers who get behind the wheel after drinking alcohol are not too intoxicated to drive safely. With a 0.08 percent BAC limit in Tennessee, three to four drinks can place you above the legal limit to drive. In the past few years, Tennessee legislators have noticed a high number of repeat DUI offenders, but there has been a lack of recourse for these repeat offenses. In order to address these sentencing discrepancies, legislators passed House Bill 167 in 2019 after years of legal deliberation.

Looking at Statistics

Legislators included a number of statistics in their HB 167 bill summary, which explains why they believe that these harsher penalties are necessary for repeat offenders with DUI charges. According to the Tennessee Department of Corrections, 32.2 percent of all offenders will re-offend within a year of release from their sentence. This appears to be the case for all offenders, not just those with DUI charges. However, the high tendency to re-offend and low chance of harsher sentencing for DUI cases make it likely for those with such charges to drive drunk again in the future. News reports from Fox17 Nashville record the most habitual Tennessee DUI offender had 19 DUI arrests, something that these harsher sentences are hoping to mitigate.

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Anderson County drunk driving defense attorney

Driving under the influence (DUI) is a serious crime, regardless of where you live in the United States. Driving with a substantial amount of alcohol in one's system impairs a driver's ability to drive in a safe manner due to delayed response times and altered senses. According to the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security, there have been 68,886 alcohol-related traffic crashes since 2009 -- and this is just in Tennessee. The law has limited the amount of alcohol legally allowed in a person’s system for this very reason. 

How Much Alcohol Is Considered Illegal?

Those with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 percent or more are above this “legal limit” in Tennessee. This number is abstract to most, making it difficult to “calculate” what your BAC is before getting behind the wheel. It is impossible to give an exact formula, since all body types are different. However, one can estimate that for every one drink, your BAC increases by about .02 percent. In other words, many people reach their driving limit at four or five drinks.

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