State Laws

Hunting & Fishing

While seasons and fees are subject to change annually, hunting and fishing licenses go on sale every year on Feb. 18 and do not expire until the last day of February the following year.

To contact the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency, call 615.781.6500 or 800.624.7406 or go online at www.tn.gov/twra.

Most licenses can be purchased a the county clerk's office, sporting goods stores, boat docks, all TWRA offices and online. There may be additional fees to order a license by phone, to print a license at home or have it mailed to you.

Weapons

Applicants for handgun permits must be a resident of Tennessee, age 21 or older, have completed a handgun safety training course and must not be federally prohibited from carrying or purchasing a handgun in any state.

There is a $115 non-refundable application fee for a four-year handgun permit in Tennessee. 

It costs $50 to renew a handgun permit and renewals can be submitted up to six months before the expiration of an existing permit. Renewal applications can be submitted by mail or at any full service Driver Service Center.

People carrying handguns may not consume alcohol while carrying a handgun; however, persons carrying handguns may carry their firearms into a restaurant or bar unless otherwise posted. If there is a sign that prohibits handguns, that sign has the authority of law in the state of Tennessee. Laws about where it is permissible to carry handguns vary.

For more information, call the Tennessee Department of Safety's handgun permit office at 615.251.8590 or go here.

Marriages

To be married in Tennessee, both parties must appear at the county clerk to obtain a marriage license that will be valid for 30 days. The Blount County Clerk operates offices in the courthouse, 345 Court St., Maryville (865.273.5800), in Foothills Mall. 

Both parties must provide valid identification and proof that they are age 18 or older. Persons younger than 18 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. No one under the age of 16 can be married in Tennessee without a court order.

There are no blood tests required.

The fee for a marriage license is $97.50 or $37.50 if the couple has completed premarital counseling with an approved counselor. For more information you can go to the County Clerk's office.

Voting

To vote in Tennessee you must be 18 or older, a U.S. Citizen and Tennessee resident. Voters must be registered to vote at least 30 days before election voting begins. Voters can not have been convited of a felony. 

To register for voting you can go to the County Clerk's office, public libraries, Register of Deeds office, the County Election Commission office and the Department of Human Services.

Smoking

Smoking is prohibited in restaurants, health care facilities, public and private educational facilities, hotels and motels, and "common use" areas such as lobbies and restrooms. Bars that opt to allow smoking are restricted to ages 21-and-up at all times.

The tax on cigarettes in Tennessee is $0.62 per pack of 20s; $0.775 per pack of 25s. For other tobacco products the tax is 6.6 percent of the wholesale cost.

Alcohol

To drink in Tennessee, people cannot be any younger that 21. Beer can be sold at grocery stores and convenience stores, but liquor and wine must be sold in licensed stores. 

For more information, go to www.tn.gov/abc or call 615.741.1602.

Boating Laws

Registration

All mechanical powered boats or sailboats used in Tennessee must be registered, and fees vary on the size of the vessel. Boats that must be registered cannot be used on any open water in Tennessee until the proper registration has been completed.

For more information, visit here or call the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency at 800.648.8798.

Boating Under the Influence

It is illegal to operate a boat under the influence of drugs or intoxicants. By boating in Tennessee, operators of boats are giving implied consent to take a test to determine blood-alcohol level or the use of drugs. The BAC level is 0.08 percent.

Life Jackets

All children 12 and under are required to wear a personal flotation device that is Coast Guard approved when on an open boat or on the open deck of a recreational boat. The operator of a boat must have one personal flotation device that is wearable and the correct size for every person on the boat or being towed by the boat. Flotation devices must be easily accessible and in good condition. 

Boats 16 feet or longer must have one Type IV throwable flotation device in case of someone falling overboard. All operators of personal watercrafts must wear a personal flotation device.

Young Drivers

Adults (18 years or older) born after Jan. 1, 1989, must have a TWRA issued card on the boat at all times to show that he/she has completed the boating safety exam. Individuals younger than 12 cannot operate a powered boat of over 8.5 horsepower unless accompanied by an adult who is able to take control of the boat.

Personal Watercraft

Personal watercrafts such as Jet Skis, Sea-Doos and WetBikes must follow the same rules as boats in addition to other regulations listed here.

Owner Responsibility

The owner of a vessel will take responsibility for any damages or injuries caused by the vessel even if the owner is not present on the vessel and did not allow another individual to drive the vessel.

Blount County Docks, Launches

There are several places to launch a boat in Blount County. To name a few, boaters can launch into Little River at Bill Bennett Bridge, Peery's Mill and Wallance Roadside picnic area. Boaters can launch into Fort Loudoun Lake at Choto Marina and Tellico Lake can be accessed at the Tallassee Access and Harrison Branch. Visit here or call 615.781.6682

Driving Laws

Licence Tage/Vehicle Registrations

A new resident of Tennessee must obtain a license plate for each motor vehicle within 30 days.

To purchase a license tag, a Tennessee title must be obtained. Both may be purchased at the County Clerk's Office in the courthouse, 345 Court St., Maryville (865.273.5800) or in the Clerk's office in Foothills Mall. Cost is $24.

Renewal of auto tags are available at the County Clerk's Office in the Courthouse, Foothills Mall location, at the drive-thru located at the entrance to the Blount County Library or renew online here.

Driver's License

Incoming residents of Tennessee must obtain a driver's license within 30 days after residency is established. Incoming residents will need two forms of identification, proof of U.S. citizenship, permanent and lawful residency. two proofs of Tennessee residency and proof of authorized stay.

If you already hold another state's license, then you must take the eye test.

Application and test are given in Blount County from 7:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m., Monday-Thursday at 318 Home Ave., Maryville (865.981.2359)

Road Rules

Motorcycles: All motorcyclists must wear an approved helmet. Footrests for drivers and passengers are required and all motorcycles must have a rearview mirror mounted to the left handlebar in addition to a windshield.

Seatbelts: Wearing a seatbelt in Tennessee is mandatory for all drivers and passengers. Those who violate this law may receive a ticket.

Child Restraints: Children from infancy to one year of age and children weighing less than 20 pounds must be fastened in a rear-facing child restraint in the back seat.

Children from 1 to 3 years of age weighing in at or over 20 pounds must be in the back seat in a child restraint seat that does not face the rear.

Children who are between ages 4 and 8 or children shorter than 4-feet, 9-inches, must be buckled into a booster seat in the back seat.

Children 12 and younger may not ride in open truck beds on highways, and children 6 and younger cannot ride in open truck beds on any street.

Turns: Drivers may turn right at a red light unless otherwise posted. Left turns may be made a red lights on when the driver is turning from a one way street onto another one way street.

Littering: There is a $50 fine for littering in Tennessee, and larger ammounts of litter will incur larger fines. In addition to fines, perpetrators may be sentenced to work up to 40 hours of public service removing litter.

Accidents: Having automobile insurance is mandatory in Tennessee. If a motorist has an accident or is pulled over by law enforcement, they must be able to show proof of insurance.

Pedestrians: In Tennessee, pedestrians have the right of way at crosswalks, intersections without traffic lights and occasions where traffice lights are not working. Pedestrians with canes and led by guide dogs always have the right of way, and motorists must yield to them.

Move Over Law: Tennessee has a "Move Over Law" which requires motorists to change lanes for emergency vehicles whose sirens and lights are on.

Cell phones and texting: Texting while driving is illegal in Tennessee. Motorists who text and drive can be subjected to a $50 fine. Drivers with a learner's permit or intermediate license are not permitted to use cell phones while driving.

Teen Drivers

Teenagers with a learner's permit under the age of 18 must be accompanied by an adult 21 or older when driving. Drivers with learner's permits may not drive between the hours of 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. Teens with a learner's permit must retain the permit for at least six months before going to apply for a license. 

A teenager must be 16 before they are legally able to apply for an intermediate license. Teenagers with an intermediate license are prohibited from driving between the hours of 11 p.m. and 6 a.m. unless they are accompanied by a parent, guardian or a driver 21 or older. 

Otherwise, teenagers are allowed to drive during those hours if they are going to or from a school sponsored activity, or going to or from work, provided they have written permission from their parents that states they may drive to those activities. For more information visit here.

DUI

The blood alcohol content level in Tennessee at which point it is illegal to drive is 0.08 percent. If pulled over in Tennessee, a driver gives "implied consent" to take a test to determine BAC level. If a driver refuses to take a test, then their driver's license is automatically suspended for one year.

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