NASHVILLE, TN. (WLAF)- Beginning July 1, Tennessee will have a series of new laws on the books.

‘One Pill Will Kill Act’

This bill adds fentanyl, carfentanil, remifentanil, alfentanil and thiafentanil to what constitutes a qualifying controlled substance for certain felony offenses. Under current law, it is an offense to manufacture, sell, deliver or possess controlled substances.

If the controlled substance contains 0.5 grams or more of fentanyl, the new law makes the offense a Class B felony and the imposed fine can be up to $100,000. Class B felonies carry a possible sentence of eight to 30 years in prison.

Possessing less than 0.5 grams of fentanyl or fentanyl derivatives will be considered a Class C felony, which carries a lesser sentence. However, if the arrested person was carrying a deadly weapon during the offense or the offense resulted in death or injury, then it will become a Class B felony.

This law only applies to offenses committed on or after July 1, 2023.

‘Drug of the Living Dead Act’

Under this law, it will be a Class A misdemeanor to knowingly possess xylazine and any salt, sulfate, isomer, homologue, analog or other preparation of xylazine. Manufacturing or selling xylazine will be a Class C felony, which carries a sentence of three to 15 years in prison.

Xylazine is an animal tranquilizer that is not approved for human use.

The new law specifies that it is not an offense to possess, manufacture, deliver or sell xylazine if it’s being used for a “legitimate veterinary practice.” The bill also makes exemptions for anyone possessing a valid prescription from a licensed veterinarian. CLICK HERE FOR RELATED STORY.

Enhanced sentencing for especially aggravated kidnapping, aggravated rape, or rape

This law requires a person convicted of especially aggravated kidnapping, aggravated rape, or rape be sentenced within at least a range II offense. In Tennessee, a range II sentence for aggravated kidnapping or aggravated rape, both A felonies, is 25-40 years. A range II sentence for rape, a B felony, is 12-20 years.

Effective January 1, 2024, this new law also expands the requirement to register as a sexual offender to all defendants convicted of a kidnapping offense, rather than only defendants convicted of kidnapping minors.

Criminal immunity to persons experiencing a drug overdose

This law offers immunity to those who call 911 to seek medical assistance for themselves or others due to drug overdoses. The law defines “seeks medical assistance” as accessing or assisting in accessing the 911 system; law enforcement or a poison control center; or providing care while awaiting the arrival of medical assistance.

Current law allows for immunity only to the person experiencing the overdose and applies only to those experiencing their first overdose. This bill will give prosecutors discretion to grant immunity to those experiencing subsequent overdoses as well.

Treatment and transdermal monitoring device requirements for DUI offenders

This new law lowers the required number of days person convicted of a second DUI must spend in jail before becoming eligible to participate in a substance abuse program. It lowered the days from 25 to 17.

This bill also requires a judge to order a person charged or convicted of a third or subsequent DUI or DUI related offense to wear a transdermal alcohol monitoring device for at least 90 days of continuous sobriety upon release on probation or on bail, unless the person’s criminal case ends before completion of this period.

Liability for individuals that provide cars to intoxicated persons

This new law creates a criminal offense for providing a vehicle to another person who the provider of the vehicle knows or should know is under the influence of an intoxicant or whose driver’s license has been suspended or revoked under certain circumstances. A person who violates this law is subject to a sentence of a minimum of 48 hours incarceration.


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