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3 Ways to Fight a BUI Charge in Tennessee

Posted on in DUI/DWI

Knoxville BUI defense attorneyBoating on Tennessee’s lakes and rivers can be a lot of fun. Whether you are cruising around on a speedboat or trying to catch some catfish from a small fishing boat, spending some time on the water can be very relaxing. Many boaters like to bring along a few alcoholic beverages, maybe a cooler of beer or some champagne to celebrate on a larger boat. While it is legal for adults over 21 years old to enjoy an alcoholic drink on a boat, it is not legal to operate the boat while intoxicated. 

The rules that apply to driving a car on land largely also apply to boats on the water. However, there are a few defenses available to boaters that are not available to drivers. If you have been charged with a BUI, it is important that you take the charge very seriously. It could lead to jail time. 

3 Defenses That May Help Only BUI Defendants

The laws regarding alcohol on boats are very different from the laws regarding alcohol in a vehicle on land. It is illegal to drive with an open container, but this law does not apply to boats. Defense strategies to BUI may include: 

  • Sobriety testing - Many of the field sobriety tests used on the side of the road cannot be used on a boat. Even a perfectly sober person may not be able to stand on one leg or walk a straight line on a rocking boat. Different, more complicated tests that are much easier to fail may be used. Challenging the validity of field sobriety testing is one possible avenue for defending a BUI case. 
  • Anchoring - It is only illegal to operate a boat while intoxicated. If your boat was anchored or docked at the time of your arrest, your attorney may be able to argue that you were not operating the boat. This is very different from how a DUI would work - you can get a DUI in Tennessee for being drunk in a parked vehicle. 
  • Type of boat - Not every watercraft is a qualifying vessel for the purposes of BUI laws. Only boats that are motorized or have a sail are illegal to operate while intoxicated. If you got arrested in a paddleboat, canoe, or kayak, you probably have a strong defense. 

A BUI can wreck more than just your fun day on the water. You could face up to a year in jail, or probation. You may also lose your boating license, at least temporarily. It is important that you take the charge seriously and focus on your defense. 

Call a Knox County BUI Lawyer

The Law Office of William F. Evans is skilled at building powerful defenses to BUI charges. Our knowledgeable Knoxville BUI defense attorneys will carefully review the facts of your case to seek out any possible defenses. 



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