August 24, 2019

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Tennessee Alcohol Laws

Tennessee Alcohol Laws

Both college football and college basketball are big deals in the Volunteer State, so if you plan a fall trip to Tennessee to cheer your favorite team on to victory, be sure to know the laws there. Every football season, people travel from far and wide to cheer on the Vols, and celebrating a big win is a way of life in Tennessee. But if you don’t know the laws regarding the consumption, sale and purchase of alcohol, you may find yourself leaving the state with more than a football victory—you may leave with serious legal trouble, too.

Sale and Purchase of Alcohol in Tennessee

Beer and wine can be purchased and sold in Tennessee grocery Monday through Saturday from 8:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m.; liquor can be sold in liquor stores Monday through Saturday from 8:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. Only beer can be sold on Sunday; liquor cannot be sold in liquor stores on Sunday in Tennessee. Bars must close at 3:00 a.m. in Tennessee, and there’s one unique law in Tennessee: All sales of beer, wine and liquor are prohibited on Thanksgiving Day.

DUI in Tennessee

DUI penalties in Tennessee become more severe with each offense. Here we will take a look at the typical penalties you will face if convicted of a DUI (first offense) in Tennessee:

  • Jail time:  Mandatory 48 hours to 11 months and 29 days; minimum jail time increases to seven days if blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is 0.20% or higher
  • Probation: 11 months 29 days less the time actually spent in jail
  • Fine:  $350-$1500
  • Mandatory DUI school
  • Community service (to be determined by the court
  • License suspension of one year
  • Ignition interlock device
  • Monitoring by law enforcement (to be determined by the court)

If you are convicted of DUI in Tennessee four times, you can expect the following:

  • Fines up to $15,000
  • Up to six years in prison
  • Driver’s license suspension up to eight years
  • Vehicle forfeiture

Dram Shop Law in Tennessee

Tennessee’s Dram Shop Law allows a person who is injured by an intoxicated person to seek damages from the vendor (restaurant or bar owner) that sold the alcohol but only in limited circumstances such as:

  • Vendor sold the alcohol to the intoxicated person
  • The person purchased the beverage was a minor under age 21 or was visibly intoxicated
  • The sale of the beverage was a direct cause of the injury

For dram shop liability to apply in Tennessee, a jury of twelve of the defendant’s peers must find that all the elements of a dram shop claim exist beyond a reasonable doubt. This is a much higher bar than in most states, where dram shop liability (civil case not criminal) needs only to be proven by what’s referred to as a “preponderance of the evidence” or by “clear and convincing evidence.”

If you find yourself in legal trouble while visiting or living in the Volunteer State, please contact a Tennessee criminal defense attorney right away.

About Lynn Fugaro

Lynn has been writing web content since 2007 after a lengthy career as a middle school English teacher and administrator. Writing web content seemed a natural progression following a career teaching adolescents about the beauty and the power of the written word, and she quickly got hooked on the challenge of writing SEO- and reader-friendly content that could be found on Page 1 of Google and other search engines.

Having written content for physicians and attorneys for the first few years of her writing career, Lynn has most recently produced original, informative, entertaining, and relevant content for the entertainment industry, the automotive industry, senior communities, pet rescues and numerous other businesses hoping to increase website traffic and page views for all clients looking for informative, vibrant content.