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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — On Friday, TWRA agents kicked off their Fourth of July weekend patrols on Percy Priest Lake in Nashville.
But this holiday weekend, if you’re charged with boating under the influence, it could mean harsher consequences if you’ve been previously convicted of a DUI.
A new state law went into effect Friday that makes a prior conviction for boating under the influence the same as a prior conviction for driving under the influence.
State Rep. Brandon Ogles (R-Williamson County) co-sponsored the original House Bill 2270.
“Your good time should never put somebody else at risk,” Ogles said.
The law is also known as Nicholas’ Law. It’s named after a child who died in Ogles’ district at the hands of a drunk driver with prior offenses on his record.
“It co-mingles the offenses of BUI and DUI. So if you have an offense on the water, or an offense on the land, if you get a subsequent second offense that will count against you for sentencing enhancement and count on your record that way,” Ogles said.
A second offense for driving or boating under the influence in Tennessee could now result in up to a year in jail, a $3,500 fine, and a revoked license for two years.
“It means you’re getting in a lot more trouble and you’re going to stay in jail longer. So we’re really making the BUI much more serious than it was in previous years. So when you’re out enjoying yourself on the lake and rivers in Tennessee, if you’re intoxicated it’s going to be very seriously held against you. It can affect your job, it can affect your ability to drive, and it can put you in jail for longer,” Ogles said.