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Third and Subsequent DUI Offenders Not Allowed To Purchase Alcohol?

Public Domain photo from Wikipedia
Public domain photo of a legislative bill courtesy of the US Gov’t. & Wikipedia

Because the number of people receiving their third DUI (Driving Under the Influence) offense is growing (751 persons in 2014 and 900 expected in 2015), Tennessee lawmakers have devoted much time and effort toward reducing the number of people who violate Tennessee Driving Under the Influence laws for a third or subsequent time. One solution has come in the form of a new proposed law.

Endorsed by both parties, this legislative bill would ban people convicted of a third or subsequent DUI offense from purchasing alcoholic beverages, including intoxicating liquors, wine, and beer. Neither the Senate nor House versions of the Bill appear to limit the length of time of the purchase prohibition.

Judges would be required, as part of sentencing the defendant, to revoke alcohol-buying privileges for these persons. Moreover, those convicted of their third DUI offense would have a designation on their driver’s license or state ID, noting that it is illegal for that particular person to buy alcohol. This bill should come before the full judiciary committee during the third week of March 2015.

While this bill may operate as a deterrent for some individuals, it is questionable whether the bill will actually curb a DUI offenders’ ability to obtain alcohol. Just because an individual cannot lawfully purchase alcohol does not mean that the person cannot obtain alcohol and subsequently become intoxicated.

As a result, these bills may prove unsuccessful at achieving the legislators’ intended goal. In effect, the legislation may keep no more third time DUI offenses from occurring than without the bill. However, the bill might just make it more difficult for third-time offenders to secure alcohol.

About the Author: Steven Oberman has been licensed in Tennessee since 1980, and successfully defended over 2,000 DUI defendants.  Among the many honors bestowed upon him, Steve served as Dean of the National College for DUI Defense, Inc. and currently serves as chair of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers DUI Committee.  Steve was the first lawyer in Tennessee to be certified as a DUI Defense Specialist by the National College for DUI Defense.

He is the author of DUI: The Crime & Consequences in Tennessee, updated annually since 1991 (Thomson-West), and co-author with Lawrence Taylor of the national treatise, Drunk Driving Defense, 7th edition (Wolters Kluwer/Aspen).  Steve has served as an adjunct professor at the University of Tennessee Law School since 1993 and has received a number of prestigious awards for his faculty contributions.  He is a popular international speaker, having spoken at legal seminars in 23 states, the District of Columbia and three foreign countries.

You may contact Steve through his website at or by telephone at (865) 249-7200.

The author would also like to recognize and thank Kaya Porter, a second year law student at the University of Tennessee College of Law, for her research and editing contributions of this article.


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Steve Oberman

Steve Oberman

Since graduating from the University of Tennessee Law School in 1980, Mr. Oberman has become established as a national authority on the intricacies of DUI defense law. Steve is a former Dean of the National College for DUI Defense, co-author of a national treatise ("Drunk Driving Defense" published by Aspen/Wolters-Kluwer), and author of "DUI: The Crime and Consequences in Tennessee" (published by Thomson-Reuters/West). He has taught thousands of lawyers, judges, and members of the general public about the intricacies of this crime. Steve was selected as a Fulbright Scholar to teach American Criminal Law and American Trial Advocacy at the University of Latvia School of Law in 2019; in 2023 taught for a semester as a visiting professor at Eötvös Loránd University (ELTE) Faculty of Law in Budapest, Hungary; and as a Fulbright Scholar at the University of Ljubljana Faculty of Law in 2024. Steve has also presented at a number of judicial conferences in the United States and Canada as well as for law enforcement agencies, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Czech Republic Police Academy. As a Tennessee DUI attorney, Mr. Oberman has successfully defended over two thousand clients charged with Driving Under the Influence of alcohol and/or drugs. In 2006, Mr. Oberman became the first DUI lawyer in Tennessee to be recognized by the National College for DUI Defense as a Board Certified Specialist in the area of DUI Defense law.

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