Tennessee criminal laws that went into effect July 1, 2023

On Behalf of | Aug 11, 2023 | Uncategorized |

In an ever-evolving landscape of legal regulations, it’s essential to stay updated with the latest changes to help ensure compliance and understanding. For example, the state of Tennessee recently implemented new criminal laws that came into effect on July 1, 2023.

These new laws have largely been inspired by the fact that crime and public safety were top of mind for many this year. For example, many people have been calling for gum reforms following March 27’s mass shooting at The Covenant School in Nashville.

Carrying weapons on school property (HB0159/SB0172)

Under HB0159/SB0172, voters can carry concealed pocketknives on school properties during elections as long as the school is their designated polling station. However, explosives and firearms are still prohibited on school grounds with exceptions made for certain kinds of guns.

Before this law was enacted, carrying a pocketknife on school property was classified as a felony offense whether this weapon was concealed or not. Adults could only carry a pocketknife when used for school-sanctioned ceremonial purposes.

University employees allowed weapons (HB0723/SB0515)

Under this bill, university employees are allowed to carry weapons on school property if they fulfill the following requirements:

  • They are retired federal, state or local law enforcement officers
  • They served for at least 20 years
  • They retired in good standing
  • They are now employed at a public institution of higher education

Previous law already exempted employees who had an enhanced handgun carry permit from the offense of carrying weapons on school property.

Selling tattoo equipment to minors (HB0167/SB0450)

Under HB0167/SB0450, selling tattoo equipment to minors is now illegal. Therefore, distributors need to ID anyone who wants to purchase tattoo paraphernalia or body piercing paraphernalia.

Criminal immunity during drug overdoses (HB0075/SB0256)

This bill offers immunity for individuals seeking medical attention for second and subsequent overdoses. Essentially, they’re exempted from arrest, charges or prosecution only when seeking medical attention for overdose concerns. This law is only honored at the discretion of the responding district attorney general’s office, however.

Substance abuse treatment (HB0144/SB0328)

This bill caters to individuals with more than one DUI conviction. It reduces the duration they must serve in prison so they can participate in a substance abuse treatment program as soon as possible.

The state’s criminal laws that went into effect on July 1, 2023, reflect the state’s dedication to address crime and public safety concerns, while balancing the rights of those who would be accused of wrongdoing for certain offenses under the laws enforced prior to this date.