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Tennessee bill barring alcohol sales to DUI offenders postponed

The Tennessee bill that intended to bar people with DUI convictions from purchasing alcohol for a period of time will have to wait until the next session.

In mid-April, the Tennessee House of Representatives passed the bill 93-2, moving it to the state Senate for consideration. However, the Senate did not pass the bill before the end of the 110th General Assembly.

The bill could be reintroduced during the 111th General Assembly when it begins next January. It would then have to be passed by both houses and signed by the Governor to become law.

If reintroduced, the legislation would likely include the proposed amendments to the bill.

The original proposal

In a previous post of ours, we discussed the proposal to limit alcohol sales for people with DUI convictions. However, the terms of the proposed bill have changed after the House adopted an amendment altering its provisions.

In the original proposal, third-time offenders would be barred from purchasing alcohol for life. With the amendment, that group would instead receive a six-year ban. Those convicted of a fourth or more DUI would be banned from purchasing alcohol for eight years.

The proposal originally required more specificity for the marked licenses that would identify a person's inability to purchase alcohol. The amendment eliminated some of these details, such as whether those features would be printed horizontally or vertically.

Originally, the proposal made it a criminal offense for a person to sell alcohol to an offender. This was removed in the amendment.

Misdemeanors and probation

The amendment also makes it a Class C misdemeanor for any convicted person to purchase alcohol. In addition, it prohibits people with alcohol or drug related convictions from consuming alcohol while on probation.

Changes to driver's licenses

Another aspect of the proposed bill is that an offender court-ordered to drive a vehicle with an interlock device would be required to obtain a restricted license. The fee for issuance of this license increased from $65 to $85 after the amendment.

People convicted of DUI would still be required to have their licenses marked by a red stripe and the words "No Alcohol Sale." After the ban period expires, offenders would be able to purchase an unmarked license after paying an additional $15 reinstatement fee.

Fiscal Impact

According to official fiscal impact projections, both state expenditures and state revenue would increase as a result of the amendment's changes. The Department of Safety would experience a one-time increase of $165,000 to update its driver's license system accordingly.

Because of changes to the license fees, revenue for the DOS is estimated to increase annually by $94,700 in fiscal year 2020 and beyond.

Defending against charges

DUI convictions can have harmful lasting effects on a person's future. If you are charged with DUI, talk with an experienced attorney to determine the best course of action.

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