Approved bill makes penalties higher for repeat DUI, lower for drug possession


A bill increasing penalties for repeat DUI offenders while reducing the penalties for simple drug possession has won final legislative approval with a 32-0 vote Monday in the state Senate.

Further from The Tennessean:

The measure (HB1478)… would would make three or more convictions for simple possession of any drug — including marijuana and cocaine — a misdemeanor. Simple possession is when someone has an illegal substance for personal use and doesn’t plan on delivering or selling it.

The bill also would make it a Class C felony for anyone convicted of six or more DUIs and carjackings. Currently, those convicted of four or more DUIs are punished with a Class E felony.

The measure hit a brief roadblock in the House last month as Rep. William Lamberth, R-Cottontown, fielded questions about the bill, as well as attempts to amend it that would have significantly changed the legislation. Lamberth delayed a vote on the bill for two weeks before it was taken up again and ultimately approved with an 80-7 vote on Thursday.