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Spring 2021 Updates on BUI Bill Status in Tennessee

Posted on in DUI/DWI

Campbell County criminal defense attorney BUI

Toward the beginning of 2020, Tennessee legislators introduced a bill that would work to align penalties between boating under the influence (BUI) and driving under the influence (DUI). It is probably good timing too because, after a sharp decline in boating-related deaths in 2019, 2020 saw the highest amount of boating-related deaths in nearly four decades for Tennessee. While it is true that some of these deaths could have been prevented with the proper safety measures being taken, many of them might have been caused by BUI. If this bill passes to align BUI penalties with DUI penalties, then both crimes would lead to equally severe punishments, making representation for a BUI arrest even more critical. Here is an update on the bill’s movement in the state legislature so you know what to expect this year.

Latest News on the New BUI Bill in Tennessee

The bill is the BUI Bill, HB0679, SB0246, and it explicitly states in its original form that it aims to mirror the penalties associated with DUI in Tennessee with those for BUI, meaning in the eyes of the law, both crimes will be considered equal in terms of the seriousness of crime and severity of punishment.

As you may or may not know, bills like this in Tennessee must get passed through several committees and subcommittees in the state legislature before they can even be voted on, which means it takes more time and effort than you might expect. In addition, over the last year, the COVID-19 pandemic left the bill waiting in a few committees and subcommittees while the world adjusted to the “new normal.”  

Despite it taking a while to move forward, so far the bill is making impressive progress: 

  • The Senate Judiciary Committee reviewed it toward the end of last month, and it passed unanimously. 

  • Most recently, last week, it passed the House Agriculture and Natural Resources Subcommittee, moving forward to that same group’s full committee, to be decided on this week. 

  • In addition, it also waits in the Senate Finance, Ways, and Means Committee with a pending review date. 

Overall, Tennessee legislators seem to be taking action on this bill much faster now despite the initial shock of the pandemic shortly after it was first introduced. 

Contact a Campbell County BUI Defense Lawyer

With springtime approaching and boating season setting sail for a busy time, you should pay attention to the updates to the new BUI bill. If it becomes law, finding an experienced Jacksboro, TN criminal defense attorney will be more important than ever before. Whether you are faced with a BUI or DUI now or after the BUI bill might become law, you should call the highly skilled team from the Law Office of William F. Evans at 423-449-7980 to schedule a free consultation. They keep up to date with the latest changes to the law and know how to develop relevant yet winning strategies for you.




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