KINGSPORT, Tenn. (WJHL)- Beginning on July 1, there will be no difference between Boating Under the Influence and Driving Under the Influence in Tennessee. This new law will authorize courts to use the same sentencing for BUI cases as DUI cases. It will also allow law enforcement to obtain search warrants to perform blood or breath tests should an arrested person refuse.
“Boating Under the Influence is now Driving Under the Influence. They are streamlined in the court system in the way that they are prosecuted and handled,” said Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA) spokesperson Matt Cameron.
Although BUI penalties will change, the law will not affect the way authorities handle these situations.
“Our officers are always on Boating Under the Influence enforcement watch when they are doing boating safety enforcement and on the waterways,” said Cameron. “Every time they go to work, they’re looking for any boating safety violations, but they’re also looking for impaired operators”
Cameron believes that with the July 4 holiday right around the corner, the law will go into effect at just the right time.
“We’re just grateful the Governor is signing it into law and it goes into effect right before the 4th of July holiday because we do see a lot of alcohol use on the waterways during the 4th of July holiday,” said Cameron.
Cameron said there will be a press conference on Thursday, June 29 in Knoxville to officially announce the new law.