Boating under the influence charges are serious in Georgia and are often treated by prosecutors as DUI cases, even if the technical requirements of the law are not the same. While Georgia BUI charges do not currently require community service, substance abuse evaluations and the increased fines you see in DUI cases, prosecutors are often making these requirements for BUI charges. If you have been arrested for BUI, these is more than just a fine at stake.
Most people arrested for BUI have no idea of the nature of these charges. For years, DUI charges have received all of the attention, with organizations and agencies spending mega dollars to raise awareness of consequences. Now, BUI charges are in the spotlight and those arrested for them are facing increased scrutiny. Currently, I see initial plea offers in BUI cases that include the following:
- Jail time ranging from 1 day to 15 days in jail, on a first BUI arrest
- Fines ranging from $300-$1000
- Probation of 12 months
- Drug and alcohol evaluation
- Georgia Risk Reduction Program
- Between 40-80 hours of community service
- Loss of boating privileges for 1-12 months
Clearly, the laws are not the laws of the past where a small fine was likely all the damage done by a boating or driving under the influence conviction.
In addition to the above-listed requirements on BUI conviction, perhaps the biggest hidden pitfall of a BUI charge is that is stays on your criminal record forever, like any other misdemeanor or felony charge in Georgia. Often, people assume a BUI will not go on a record or have any lasting effect. This is simply not the case. Once you are taken to jail and fingerprinted on a BUI charge, your information is transmitted to the GBI who will keep your record and make it available to approved agencies. Background checks run with your consent will pull a BUI charge and see the outcome of your case. With this much on the line, fighting to have a BUI charge dropped or reduced to a lesser charge is a priority for most clients.
While BUI prosecutions can be tough to defend, they are defensible by a lawyer with a proper knowledge of the BUI laws. The laws on safety checks, field sobriety testing, and blood or breath testing all come into play on a typical BUI case. You will want a lawyer who knows all of these areas to stand the best chance of securing a reduced charge in your case.
If you have been arrested for BUI on Lake Lanier, Lake Burton, or surrounding lakes in North Georgia, give us a call today to discuss your case. We will be happy to discuss your first steps, including sending the Dept. of Natural Resources an appeal letter to challenge the loss of your boating privileges. This letter can be sent in your name and at no cost to you other than postage. The letter will ensure that you and your lawyer have a chance to challenge your suspension and speak to the officer who arrested you.
Call or email us today. We can be reached through your main line number above, or through our inquiry form to the right. If you need immediate assistance, you can also email us at: email@example.com.