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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.

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Knoxville DUI defense lawyerOne of the most common pieces of evidence used by prosecutors in DUI cases is the result of the defendant’s breathalyzer test. However, a skilled Knox County defense attorney knows that it is not uncommon for breathalyzers to give false readings. While breathalyzer testing is more accurate than other subjective field sobriety tests, breathalyzer tests can still be incorrect or inaccurate.

Breathalyzer Testing

When you are pulled over and the police officer has probable cause that you have been drinking, the officer can administer a breathalyzer test. A breathalyzer test is a chemical test that assesses how much alcohol vapor is on the breath of the individual taking the test. This data generally correlates to an individual’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level.

Tennessee is an implied consent state, meaning that by accepting a driver’s license that grants them the right to operate a vehicle, a driver automatically consents to be subjected to chemical testing when suspected of driving under the influence of alcohol. Individuals do have a right to refuse a breathalyzer test, but there are steep consequences for refusal.

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How Can I Get Out of a DUI in Knoxville?

Posted on in DUI/DWI/BUI

Knox County DUI defense attorneyDrunk driving is punishable by significant penalties. Even a first-time conviction for driving under the influence (DUI) results in a 48-hour mandatory jail sentence, heavy fines, and a one-year license suspension. Second and subsequent DUI convictions are punished even more harshly.

If you or a loved one were charged with drunk driving, contact a DUI defense lawyer for help. Your attorney can evaluate the circumstances of the alleged offense, help you gather evidence, and explore your legal options. Your attorney can also represent you in any legal proceedings resulting from the charges.

Defense Strategies for DUI Charges in Tennessee

Fortunately, being charged with a criminal offense like drunk driving does not mean that the defendant will automatically face penalties for the alleged offense. All criminal defendants are innocent until proven guilty. In a DUI case, the prosecution must prove that the defendant was driving while intoxicated beyond a reasonable doubt. A skilled lawyer may cast doubt on a DUI defendant’s guilt by questioning the validity of the evidence against the defendant.

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shutterstock_13686835.jpgIf you have ever seen red and blue lights flashing in your rearview mirror, then you are already familiar with the fear and nervousness that being pulled over on the road can invoke. It is never fun to realize that you are being pulled over by the police. 

If you know that you had been drinking prior to getting in the car and driving on the road, then you probably have a sinking feeling in your stomach that you are being pulled over under the suspicion of driving while intoxicated

Even so, do you have to tell the police that there is alcohol in your system? And must you participate in a field sobriety test simply because you are asked to step out of your vehicle and consent to the testing? The answers to these questions are important to know in case you find yourself in a situation where you are asked to take the field sobriety test in Tennessee. 

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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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