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.”
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.