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Tennessee laws about boating under the influence

It is no wonder why being out on the Tennessee River is a popular pastime in Knoxville. The waterway is perfect whether you enjoy the serene beauty and outdoor air or prefer thrilling water recreation. As you plan your next boating trip, one thing to consider is your alcohol consumption.

Any type of get-together or alone time often comes with the expectation of alcoholic beverages. Just as you need to be careful of drinking and driving on the road, you need to be careful doing so while operating a boat as well.

Tennessee law on drinking and boating

The blood alcohol content limit for operating a sail or powered water vessel is 0.08 percent, the same as it is for driving a motor vehicle, and the court considers you impaired whether or not you were showing obvious signs of intoxication. The law applies to any type of drug, not just alcohol.

Tennessee also has an implied consent law stating that implicit with your boating privileges is the obligation to consent to chemical tests if the police require it. A refusal to cooperate may come with the additional penalty of a six-month boating license suspension.

Penalties of a BUI conviction

If your case ends in a BUI conviction, you face these legal penalties:

  • $250 to $2,500 fine for first offenders
  • $500 to $2,500 fine for second offenders
  • $1,000 to $5,000 fine for third offenders
  • Jail time for up to 11 months and 29 days
  • Suspension of operation privileges for one to 10 years
  • Other federal penalties if applicable

Although you are not on land, a BUI carries just as many serious consequences in numerous areas of life as a DUI. A criminal conviction can negatively affect your employment, professional licensure and relationships, even more so if you must serve time in jail. However, you may be able to avoid or reduce these effects through the assistance of a criminal defense attorney.

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Hindman & Lanzon
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Knoxville, TN 37902

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Phone: 865-223-6450
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