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Tennessee Trying to Increase BUI Penalties-Updated

Motor Boating Magazine 1914 Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

On March 15, 2021, Tennessee Senate Bill 0246 was unanimously passed.  If the accompanying House Bill passes as well, as it appears it will, the penalties for Boating Under the Influence of an intoxicant (BUI) will be more closely aligned with the Tennessee penalties for Driving Under the Influence of an intoxicant (DUI). Furthermore, this new law clarifies that the offenses of Vehicular Assault, Aggravated Vehicular Assault, Vehicular Homicide, and Aggravated Vehicular Homicide may be committed by a person boating under the influence.

The sponsor of the original senate bill, Tennessee Senator Becky Duncan Massey, posted, in part, the following statement in a March 1, 2021 online news release to her constituents: “Current law allows for a six-month suspension of a boating license for drinking and boating. However, if a violation occurs at the end of boating season then there is practically no real penalty or consequence. In Tennessee waterways, alcohol and drugs are a major cause of injury and death. It is also important to keep Tennessee waterways safe because impaired boaters can also become impaired drivers once they get off their boat. According to TWRA, between 100 to 150 BUI arrests are made each year. About 30% of all boating accidents involve drugs or alcohol.”

UPDATE:  This Bill ultimately passed both houses and Public Chapter 434 [now codified as amended T.C.A. § 69-9-219(c)(1)] was signed into law by Governor Lee on April 27, 2021.

 


About the Author: Steven Oberman has been licensed in Tennessee since 1980, and successfully defended over 2,500 DUI defendants.  Among the many honors bestowed upon him, Steve has served as Dean of the National College for DUI Defense, Inc. (NCDD) and currently serves as chair of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers DUI Committee.  Steve was the first lawyer in Tennessee to be Board Certified as a DUI Defense Specialist by the NCDD.

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, 8th 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 30 states, the District of Columbia and six foreign countries.  After being named a Fulbright Scholar, Steve was honored to teach as an Adjunct Professor at the University of Latvia Law School in the capital city of Riga, Latvia during the Spring Semester of 2019.  If you would like to contact the author, please visit his website at www.tndui.com.

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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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