Tennessee is Crafting New Laws and New Beers in 2017
The craft beer industry has been thriving around the country over the past several years, but 2017 seems to be the best year yet for Tennessee thanks to a big change in the law. Beginning in January of 2017, Tennessee brewers, grocery stores, convenience stores, etc. are now allowed to serve higher alcohol content beers without a specialty license.
Before the new law came into effect, the alcohol by volume (ABV) limit was capped at about 6.2%. The new law increases the limit to about 10.1% alcohol by volume. It’s important to note that this cap only applies to anyone selling alcohol outside of a liquor store with a specialty license.
This means that craft brewers can now create and sell a wider, and stronger, variety of beers in Tennessee. With Tennessee breweries serving stronger beer, there are bound to be legal ramifications, including a possible increase in the amount of DUIs throughout Tennessee. It stands to reason that stronger alcohol served equals more alcohol in a person’s body when they get behind the wheel.
One can certainly imagine the scenario that could lead to a DUI under the new law: Someone, say Jane, frequents her favorite brewery and has a few beers. After some time, she decides to drive home like she normally would after an evening at the brewery. Only this time, those beers contained a higher ABV and now Jane is considered driving while intoxicated, even though the same number of beers under the old ABV cap would not have caused her BAC to exceed the legal limit. Jane is now facing criminal charges.
This is because, in Tennessee, it is unlawful for any person over the age of 21 to operate a motor vehicle with an alcohol concentration (known as BAC) at or exceeding .08%. This limit is reduced to .04% for commercial drivers, such as bus drivers, and reduced even further to .02% for persons under 21.
Sound complicated? It doesn’t have to be. Being informed about the new law means you can be aware that the craft beer (or other alcoholic beverage) you are drinking may be significantly stronger than what you were used to before the new law took effect in January of 2017. With this new information, you can protect yourself from being in a situation where you could be arrested for driving while intoxicated.
The easiest way to avoid a DUI is to not drive while drinking alcohol or immediately after consuming alcohol. Determining whether you are fit to drive is a personal decision, as every person’s body processes alcohol differently, depending on several factors, such as your gender, weight, age, medical conditions, and the amount of alcohol, water, food, etc. that you have consumed. With stronger alcoholic beverages on the market, it is critical that you make sure you are well under the BAC limit before getting behind the wheel.
The law to increase the ABV limit for those without a specialty license came at an interesting time, as the law regarding probation for Vehicular Homicides also changed in the beginning of the year. In Tennessee, beginning January 1, 2017, drivers who commit Vehicular Homicide due to intoxication are no longer eligible for probation. Offenders will still be eligible for community corrections depending on the length of sentence and will be eligible for parole.
If you or a loved one has been arrested and charged with a DUI, it is crucial that you speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney who is familiar with the new laws and how those laws can affect your case. Contact us today and let us help you fight your DUI charges!