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BUI now all but DUI


After another deadly season on the water in 2012, including some cases that received added media attention, Georgia Governor Nathan Deal signed a bill into law that would stiffen punishments for BUI convictions. The law became effective on May 15, 2013, and effectively implements DUI punishments for all boating under the influence cases.

While the old law in Georgia for BUI did not mandate a checklist of minimum requirements for those convicted of BUI, the 2013 law does. Included in the new law are the following mandates for 1st time BUI offenders:

  1. Fines ranging from a minimum $300 to a maximum $1,000 (not including court costs and surcharges)
  2. 10 days in jail (can be probated if you didn't blow over a .08/ if .08+, all but 24 hours)
  3. 40 hours of community service work
  4. a clinical drug and alcohol evaluation (maybe waived on 1st, but don't count on it)
  5. 12 months of mandatory probation
  6. Completion of DUI School

To clarify, under the old law, courts were still prone to require BUI cases to complete most of the above-listed requirements, but now it's a mandate. The power of the prosecutor to negotiate on these cases is now all but lost if you are convicted of a boating under the influence.

Under Georgia law, there is also still a suspension of your privileges to boat if you are charged with BUI and the officer sends your paperwork to DNR. In order to fight for your boating privileges, you must request and attend a separate hearing addressing the issue.

If you have been arrested for BUI, call our office today for more information about finding your best defense and fighting to have your charges dropped or reduced to a lesser crime. Mr. Watson handles many BUI cases a year, in Hall, Forsyth and Bartow Counties. You can also email him directly at: to schedule a phone or in-person interview.

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