Starting July 1, 2023, a new Tennessee law means there will be no difference in the way the courts treat Boating Under the Influence (BUI) and Driving Under the Influence (DUI) cases, as reported by several local news organizations. The 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,” says Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA) spokesperson Matt Cameron.
Although BUI penalties will change, Cameron says 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 traveling on the waterways,” says Cameron. “Every time they go to work, they’re looking for any boating safety violations, but they’re also looking for impaired operators.”