Legislation restructures TN’s DUI laws


Makes them easier for law enforcement, lawyers and citizens to understand 

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Senate Judiciary Committee approved legislation on Tuesday rewriting Tennessee’s DUI laws to make them more understandable by prosecutors, defense lawyers and citizens.  Senate Bill 186 comes from Tennessee Safety and Homeland Security Commissioner Bill Gibbons who said the state’s DUI laws have received so many additions (58 pages worth) over the years that they have become very complicated and are in need of streamlining.


The current law consists of numerous sections dealing with DUI offenses, punishments and enhancements as well as ignition interlock requirements and fees, implied consent testing and related fees, open container requirements, drug and alcohol treatment.  Many of these provisions are duplicative among several sections, or overlap other requirements, making it difficult for prosecutors, defense attorneys, judges and the general public to determine the consequences.


The reorganization consolidates these sections into a more organized law by placing DUI offenses, penalties, fines and suspension times at the beginning.  That section is followed by implied consent and testing, restricted driver licenses, alcohol and drug treatment, distribution of fines and fees, vehicle seizures, underage offenses, open container and ignition interlock.