Scroll down for a link to the committee currently up for review of this bill so you can contact them to ask for their vote in favor of the bill.
Why do we need this Vehicular Homicide Serve 100% bill?
Tennessee code defines Vehicular Homicide by Intoxication as “the reckless killing of another by the operation of an automobile, airplane, motorboat or other motor vehicle, as the proximate result of the driver’s intoxication, as set forth in § 55-10-401. For the purposes of this section, “intoxication” includes alcohol intoxication as defined by § 55-10-411(a), drug intoxication, or both.”
Currently in Tennessee, the charge of Vehicular Homicide by Intoxication is designated as a Class B felony. Sentencing for a Class B felony is 8-30 years, depending on the Range classification of the offender. A Range I offender, a Standard Offender, is someone with 0-1 prior felony convictions. The sentence for a Range I offender is 8-12 years with 30% to serve. This means that after serving 30% of his/her sentence (2.4 – 3.6 years), the offender is eligible for parole. In addition, he/she can earn sentence reduction credits for good behavior, lowering the time to serve even further.
A Range II offender, a Multiple Offender, has had 2-4 prior felony convictions or one prior Class A conviction. The sentence for this range is 12-20 years with 35% to serve. This offender would be eligible for parole after serving 4.2 – 7 years. He/she could also potentially further reduce time to serve with sentence reduction credits for good behavior.
A Range III offender, a Persistent Offender, has had 5 or more prior felony convictions, or two Class A, or any combination of two Class A or Class B felony convictions. The sentence for this range is 20-30 years with 45% to serve. This offender would be eligible for parole after serving 9 – 13.5 years. He/she could potentially further reduce time to serve with sentence reduction credits for good behavior.
The highest classification is a Career Offender. A Career Offender has had 6 or more prior Class D or Class E felony convictions, or three Class A felony convictions, or any combination of four Class A or Class B felony convictions, or any combination of six Class A, Class B, or Class C felony convictions. The sentence for this range is 30 years with 60% to serve meaning he/she is eligible for parole after serving 18 years and can still reduce that time with sentence reduction credits for good behavior.
HB0606/SB0652 would provide justice for the victims of this 100% preventable crime by ensuring that offenders convicted of Vehicular Homicide by Intoxication, no matter what their Range classification, must serve 100% of their sentence before becoming eligible for parole. It also reduces the amount of sentence reduction credits for good behavior to no more than 15%.
What can I do to help the Vehicular Homicide Serve 100% bill become a law?
For this bill to become law, we will need your support! On the road to becoming a law, there are several committees through which the bill must pass before it is even eligible to go before the full House and/or Senate to be voted into law. It will likely alternate between committees in the House and committees in the Senate as it moves through the process. Please bookmark this page and follow us on our @MADDTennessee Facebook page for updates about the status of this bill and who we need you to contact to let your voice be heard. YOU can help make this law a reality by emailing committee members and your own legislators telling them that you want them to vote in favor of this bill! Keep reading for instructions on who to contact, when, and even ideas of what to say.
Where is this bill currently in the process?
Below this Road to Law map, which shows where we currently are in the process, you’ll find a link to the committee currently up for review of the bill.
Who do I contact to ask them to vote in favor of this bill and when?
Listed below, under “Committee Member Links” you can see which committee is currently reviewing the bill. Look for our note that says “PLEASE EMAIL THIS COMMITTEE NOW.” Then click the link to get the list of committee members and email each member to ask for their support.
You can also click HERE and enter your address to identify the lawmakers assigned to the district where you live. They are charged with voting in a way that represents YOU, a constituent of their district. Please be sure to also contact each of them also and ask them to support this bill!
Committee Member Links
Senate Finance, Ways, and Means Committee – Review date TBD. PLEASE EMAIL THIS COMMITTEE NOW.
House Finance, Ways, and Means Committee – Placed behind the budget – 3/24. Review date TBD. PLEASE EMAIL THIS COMMITTEE NOW.
What should I say when asking legislators to vote in favor of this bill?
Not sure what to say exactly? We have a sample of text below that you can copy and paste to use in your email if you’d like. Use it as it is, or adjust the wording as needed to personalize it and let the legislator know why this bill means something to you, and why you’d like to see it become law in Tennessee. Just be sure you include bill number, HB0606 (Lamberth)/SB0652 (Bowling), in your email.
Sample Email Text
Dear Sir or Madame,
I am writing to ask you to support HB0606 (Lamberth)/SB0652 (Bowling) regarding sentencing for Vehicular Homicide by Intoxication convictions. I was very unhappy to hear that offenders who are convicted of killing someone after making the choice to drive impaired could be sentenced to as little as eight years and only required to serve 30% of that sentence for a measly 2.6 years! And that doesn’t count the option of reducing their time even further for good behavior! Current sentencing is misleading and hurtful to victim families. Going through the court process is difficult for those who have lost a loved one to an impaired driving crash. They put their trust in our criminal justice system that justice will be served. But, once they get a conviction, it’s hard enough to hear that the person who killed their loved one will only be sentenced to eight years knowing their family will deal with the consequences of the offender’s actions for their entire lifetime. But to find out that the offender will only serve 30% of it, is a slap in the face! The sentence should be the sentence. Period. If they are sentenced eight years for their crime, then they should serve eight years for their crime! This bill will stop the cruelty suffered by Tennessee victim families and finally ensure justice for the innocent lives taken. I hope I can count on your vote in favor of passing this legislation so that it becomes law.