The introduction of the Silas Gable Flatt Law in Tennessee marks a significant step in the state’s ongoing efforts to combat drunk driving.

This law, which took effect in July 2023, addresses a crucial aspect of vehicular safety by holding individuals accountable for providing vehicles to those under the influence of intoxicants or with a suspended or revoked license.

This blog post aims to explore the intricacies of this law, its implications on families and friends, and the broader context of drunk driving.

Who Is the Silas Gable Flatt Law Named After?

The Silas Gable Flatt Law in Tennessee has a tragic origin. It was named in honor of an unborn child, Silas Gable Flatt, who tragically died in a car crash caused by a drunk driver on Hilham Highway in Overton, Tennessee.

This heartbreaking incident occurred on May 12, 2022, when Halie and Daniel Flatt, parents of Silas, were struck by the intoxicated driver head-on while he was traveling in the wrong direction. Both Hallie and Daniel suffered injuries during the crash, but unborn Silas, who was only a couple of days away from his due date, suffered fatal injuries.

The driver responsible for the crash, James Leonard Vaughn, was found to be under the influence of multiple substances, including THC metabolite, fentanyl, flualprazolam, methamphetamine, and amphetamine. Vaughn had previous convictions for driving under the influence (DUI) and was sentenced to 21 years in prison for various charges, including aggravated vehicular homicide, vehicular assault, and reckless endangerment​.

What Does the Law Do?

The law, officially introduced as HB-1198 by Rep. Ryan Williams (R-Cookeville), was passed in response to this incident. It targets individuals who knowingly provide vehicles to impaired or intoxicated drivers.

Specifically, the law makes it a criminal offense to provide a motor vehicle to another person if the person doing so knows or should know that the person wanting to drive is under the influence of intoxicants, or if the person’s driver’s license is suspended or revoked due to alcohol or drug offenses.

The law aims to hold accountable not only the drivers but also those who enable drunk driving by providing vehicles. This is a significant step in addressing the broader issue of drunk driving, which continues to be a major cause of traffic-related fatalities and injuries​ in Tennessee.

What Are the Key Provisions of the Law?

Under the Silas Gable Flatt Law, it is a misdemeanor to knowingly provide a vehicle to someone who is under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or other intoxicants. The same applies if the person has a suspended or revoked driver’s license, unless they are operating under a restricted license for permissible purposes.

The law imposes a Class A misdemeanor for violators, with escalating mandatory minimum jail sentences for repeat offenses: 48 hours for the first offense, 72 hours for the second, and seven days for subsequent violations.

Contact Our Tennessee DUI Lawyers for a Free Consultation

Navigating the legal ramifications of being arrested for driving while intoxicated or without a license, whether you’re the driver or the person who facilitated it, can be daunting and complex. Our law firm has the experience and knowledge needed to successfully handle DUI defense cases, and we offer dedicated legal guidance and effective strategies tailored to your unique situation:

  • Personalized Legal Strategies: We understand that each DUI case has its unique circumstances. Our legal team will work closely with you to develop a personalized defense strategy aimed at achieving the best possible outcome.
  • Experience in DUI Laws: Our attorneys are well-versed in the intricacies of DUI and intoxicated driving-related laws, including recent updates like the Silas Gable Flatt Law in Tennessee. We stay abreast of all legislative changes to provide informed and effective legal representation.
  • Negotiation and Litigation Skills: Whether negotiating with prosecutors or representing clients in court, our experienced attorneys are adept at navigating the legal system to protect your rights.
  • Support Through the Legal Process: From the initial consultation to the resolution of your case, we’re with you every step of the way. We’ll ensure you understand your rights, the legal process, and the implications of your case.

If you or someone you know is facing DUI charges or has been charged with violating the Silas Gable Flatt law, it’s crucial to get experienced legal representation right away. Contact the Tennessee DUI lawyers at Ralls & Wooten today to schedule a free consultation. Let us help you navigate the complexities of your case with professionalism and dedication.