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Possible Defenses to Boating Under the Influence Charges

Posted on in DUI/DWI

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.

Examples of possible defense strategies in a BUI case include:

  • Unreliable breath alcohol test results – Breath alcohol tests or breathalyzers measure the amount of alcohol on a person’s breath. This information can be used to calculate the person’s blood alcohol concentration. However, breath alcohol tests are not perfect and various issues can invalidate the results. If the testing device was not calibrated, cleaned, and maintained properly, it may show an inaccurate BAC. Problems with the administration of the test can also lead to inaccurate results.
  • Insufficient evidence – To convict someone of drunk boating, there must be sufficient evidence that he or she broke the law by operating a boat under the influence. Lack of evidence may lead to an acquittal or even the charges being dropped altogether.
  • Rising blood alcohol – When someone drinks alcohol, about 20 percent is absorbed by the stomach and enters the person’s bloodstream. The rest of the alcohol enters the intestines and is metabolized. The rate at which alcohol enters the bloodstream depends on whether the person ate food, the strength of the drink, the rate of consumption, and other factors. Blood alcohol content typically peaks at about 30 minutes to two hours after drinking. If the person ate a meal, his or her BAC will peak at 1-6 hours after drinking. If there is a significant amount of time between someone being arrested for BUI and the chemical BAC test, it can be argued that the person’s BAC was below the legal limit when they were boating.   

Speak With a Knoxville Boating Under the Influence Lawyer

If you were charged with boating under the influence, contact Knox County criminal defense attorney William Evans for help. Call 423-449-7980 for a free, confidential consultation.



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