New TN Criminal Laws Effective July 1

New TN Criminal Laws Effective July 1

On July 1, several new laws for the state of TN went into effect. There are many laws that pertain to various aspects of criminal law. We have written on several of them before, but here is a brief list of the most noteworthy laws:

Welfare Benefits - HB0119 prohibits a person who has been convicted of a felony for possession, use, or distribution of a controlled substance from receiving welfare benefits.

Sex Offender Registry - HB0687 requires juveniles who are convicted of violent sexual offenses to register on the sex offender registry.

DUI Offenses - HB0391 increases the minimum time period a driver's license may be revoked for a third DUI offense to six to eight years rather than three to five years.

Wiretapping - HB1066 authorizes judges to allow a district attorney to use a wiretap when the conversation may provide evidence of criminal gang-related activities in aggravated burglaries.

Distracted Driving - SB1171 increases the penalties for distracted driving around cyclists. If a pedestrian or bicycle fatality is the result of distracted driving, this is now considered a Class A misdemeanor. The offender may serve up to eleven months and 29 days in prison, revocation of the driver's license, and a $500 fine.

Methamphetamine - The I Hate Meth Act increases the penalties for manufacturing methamphetamine in the presence of a child and requires pharmacies to track and record pseudo ephedrine purchases. We recently discussed the I Hate Meth Act here.

Search Warrants - SB0559 provides for a good faith exception in the execution of invalid search warrants due to typographical errors. We previously discussed this law here.

Harassment - The new Cyber-bullying act expands the crime of harassment to include posting harmful or offensive messages about another on social networking sites. We recently discussed this law here. has a complete list of the 508 TN laws that took effect on July 1, 2011.

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