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Knoxville BUI defense attorneyIn Tennessee, boating while under the influence of alcohol is a criminal offense. Tennessee law prohibits the operation of a watercraft which either impaired by drugs or alcohol or having a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) above 0.08 percent. For a first-time offense, boating under the influence (BUI) is a Class A misdemeanor punishable by up to nearly a year in jail and up to $2,500 in fines. The offender may also have his or her boating privileges suspended for up to a year. The penalties increase for second and subsequent offenses and may include mandatory substance abuse treatment. If you or a loved one were charged with BUI, contact a criminal defense lawyer for help.

Defense Strategies for Individuals Charged with BUI in Tennessee

Tennessee residents enjoying a day out on the water are often shocked when they find themselves in handcuffs for boating under the influence. They are even more surprised to learn that they could be facing jail time.

To convict a person of BUI, the prosecution must prove the individual’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Criminal defense lawyers may be able to find weaknesses in the prosecution’s case against the defendant and demonstrate that there is doubt about his or her culpability.

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Knoxville DUI defense lawyer Driving under the influence (DUI) is never a good idea, but any day now Tennesseans are expected to have yet another reason to think twice before driving drunk. That is when Governor Lee is expected to sign the new “Ethan’s, Hailey’s, and Bentley’s Law” requiring anyone whose DUI offense kills a parent or guardian to pay child support to the victims’ surviving children until they are 18.

Tennessee to Become First State Enacting This Law

The law is patterned after one making its way through the Missouri legislature, which was promoted by Cecilia Williams, a grandmother whose son, his fiancée, and their infant son were killed in a DUI crash. In that incident, the driver’s blood-alcohol level was reportedly two times the legal limit after “seven shots of Crown and water.” When the accident left her remaining two grandsons orphaned, the grandmother started lobbying her legislators to make offenders financially liable by garnishing their wages.

The law is arousing great interest in many states due to the high prevalence of deadly DUI crashes throughout America, in which approximately 28 people die every day for a 2019 DUI fatality total of more than 10,000. With the governor’s expected signature, Tennessee is slated to become the first state in the country to actually enact the statute.

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Knoxville BUI defense lawyerWith the 2022 boating season getting underway, it is time again to start enjoying the many beautiful lakes and streams East Tennessee has to offer. For many, kicking back and relaxing with a couple of beers or other alcoholic refreshment is just part of the fun. But a glance at the statistics shows that fun on the water can turn deadly in a blink—which is what inspired Tennessee’s new boating under the influence (BUI) laws in the first place.

For example, you might not know that:

  • Nearly half of all U.S. boating accidents involve alcohol.
  • Since alcohol affects people’s balance, one in every four boating deaths results from falling overboard and drowning.
  • The risks go up even more at night, as alcohol further impairs night vision and the ability to tell red from green.

Numbers like these prompted Tennessee to enact similar serious penalties for BUI as they already had in place for DUI. But the law for boaters differs in several significant respects from that for drivers. One of the key distinctions is that it is illegal to have an open container of alcohol in a moving car, but not on a boat.

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Knoxville DUI Defense AttorneyThere is no doubt that the effects of a driving under the influence (DUI) conviction stretch way beyond whatever legal or financial penalties you may have received. Besides showing up on background checks for potential future jobs, are you also in danger of being fired from your present one?

The Impact on Your Current Employment

Depending on your company’s policies and the terms of your employment, your employer may be able to dismiss you if you are convicted of any crime, including a DUI. But will they? One obvious factor is whether the time requirements of your case—such as court dates, jail time, counseling sessions, and community service—have made you miss too much work. But if you have crossed that hurdle, you are able to get to work, and driving is not an integral part of your employment, then that DUI may not be all that important to your present employer.

The Impact on Your Job Search

If you are looking for work, it is possible that the question of criminal convictions will not come up at all in the application or interview. In that case, you have no obligation to bring it up. If it does arise, don’t assume it will automatically kill your chances for the job.

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Knoxville DUI defense lawyerGetting a DUI can be, at best, very unpleasant and, at worst, life-altering. The initial legal penalties can be difficult to deal with, and then there are likely to be more far-ranging collateral consequences. There is a lot of risk involved when you are charged with a DUI. Depending on the outcome of the case, you could be more or less free to go back to your life as it was before, or you could end up serving time in jail and facing more serious consequences. If you were arrested for DUI, the best thing to do is call a lawyer as soon as you possibly can, even if it is from a police station or from jail. The sooner an attorney takes on your representation, the better they can manage the criminal process. 

What Are Some Possible Consequences of a DUI in Knox County?

The judge typically has quite a bit of discretion in a DUI case. Even if you are convicted or ultimately plead guilty, there is a wide range of potential sentences. While DUI offenses carry mandatory minimum sentencing, you may be able to avoid some of the harshest penalties available if your case is well-handled. 

Possible consequences that could come with a DUI include: 

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