Several new Tennessee laws took effect on July 1 of this year that involve driving and boating under the influence. This was, perhaps not coincidentally, just ahead of one of the biggest drinking holidays in our country.
One law makes it a misdemeanor to knowingly allow someone to get behind the wheel if you’re aware that they’re under the influence. That law also applies to anyone who knows that their driver’s license has been suspended or revoked.
A second law allows someone convicted of vehicular homicide while under the influence to be sued for child support of a minor child whose parent or guardian was killed. Previously, people couldn’t be ordered to pay “child maintenance restitution” until after they’d served any prison sentence.
BUI laws are as serious as DUI laws
A third law brings Tennessee boating under the influence (BUI) laws and penalties in line with those for DUI. Judges can now sentence those convicted of BUI the same as they would if the offense were a DUI.
Further, under the new law, if a person suspected of operating a watercraft while under the influence refuses to take a breath or blood test, law enforcement officers can get a warrant to test them.
Unfortunately, many people don’t take BUI laws as seriously as they take DUI laws. When they get out on the water, it can be all too easy to give in and have a beer (or several) or other alcoholic beverages with passengers.
As a spokesperson for the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA) points out, however, “Our officers are always on Boating Under the Influence enforcement watch….Every time they go to work, they’re looking for any boating safety violations, but they’re also looking for impaired operators”
If you’re facing a DUI or BUI charge or any related charge, it’s crucial to take it seriously. Even a first offense can have an impact on your life and your bank account. Having legal guidance can help you protect your rights and work to lessen the consequences.