With the 4th here, I want to explain one commonly seen and often misunderstood ticket: the less safe BUI charge. Under Georgia law, it is now illegal to operate a boat or other watercraft with an alcohol level of .08 grams of higher. This is for boaters 21 and over. If you are under 21, you still have a .02 (zero tolerance) limit. However, contrary to popular belief, cops do not need a breath or blood test showing your alcohol level to prosecute you for boating under the influence. The less safe BUI charge is designed for these situations.
Less Safe BUI
A less safe BUI charged when someone refuses to take a blood or breath test, or for some other reason is unable to give a sufficient sample. A less safe charge is 100% the cop's opinion that you were impaired, or too drunk, to operate your boat. Clients often assume that cops need a breath test or other test showing a number of their alcohol level. This is not the case.
In a less safe BUI (or less safe DUI) the cop is looking at all of the circumstances when charging you. Everything from the reason he stopped your boat to how well you were able to find your life jackets is noted in most less safe BUI reports. Additionally, how you look, sound and walk about your boat is important, as well as your performance on field sobriety tests. A cop will never have your admissible breath test before you are placed under arrest, so you are always arrested for less safe BUI, and only after you take a breath or blood test is a separate charge of boating over the legal limit, or BUI per se, charged.
If you have been stopped for a safety inspection or for some other reason on one of North Georgia's lakes and have ended up with a BUI less safe or BUI refusal charge, call me today directly to discuss your options. If its afterhours or a weekend, call my cell at 404 642 6333. Otherwise, our staff can be reached at 770 887 3720 and will be happy to get your defense started. Remember, on a less safe or refusal BUI you are looking at not being able to boat for a year. Additionally, there are other fines, probation time and alcohol classes and counseling often required for these charges.