About Boating Under the Influence (BUI) with 2013 Updates
If you have been charged with Boating Under the Influence (BUI), you are exposing yourself to heavy criminal penalties which include the suspension of your boating privileges, drug, and alcohol counseling, court ordered fines, community service, and incarceration. Boating under the influence is potentially more risky than a DUI as the breaking and steering systems on a boat may not response in time to avoid injury or a fatality. Also, some boat owners are unskilled or do not spend sufficient time operating their vessels and the marine environment can present hazards not found on the road.
Under Georgia law, it is now illegal to operate a boat under the influence of alcohol or drugs if you are a less safe boat operator or if your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is greater than .08%. This lower legal limit was signed into law in 2013 and has resulted in many more BUI arrests with people testing over the .08 standard. If you are under 21, you can be arrested if your BAC is .02%, which is technically Georgia's Zero Tolerance law. Additionally, you can be charged with the separate misdemeanor of Child Endangerment if there is a child (or children) under 14 aboard and you are driving under the influence. The law also provides for revocation of your boating privileges if you refuse a chemical test when ordered by law enforcement, such as a breath or blood test. Unlike DUI arrests in Georgia, a BUI triggers an immediate suspension of your boating privileges.
You have 10 days to send an appeal letter to the Department of Natural Resources in an effort to reinstate your boating ability early.
At Zeliff | Watson, we have extensive experience in the defense of BUI cases. Many of the field sobriety tests and the overall police investigation are very similar to those of a DUI arrest. Our state is eager to prosecute individuals who are under the influence while boating and it will require aggressive and insightful actions by a DUI attorney from our firm to produce a positive outcome to your case. Both of our attorneys defend BUI cases on a regular basis, especially in Georgia's summer months. Both attorneys also attend annual training specialized in DUI and BUI defense.
Consultation on Your Case
If you or a loved one has been charged with BUI, call our offices today to set up a no-cost consultation to discuss the facts and circumstances of your arrest. Per our state's 10-day warning rule, you have only that period of time to demand a hearing or your boating privileges will be automatically suspended. This suspension applies if you refused to be tested for BAC or tested over the legal limit.
We can get this hearing scheduled and represent you throughout the proceedings as the first step towards a hard-hitting defense of your rights and privileges.
Contact a DUI lawyer to learn how the BUI charges against you may be successfully defended.