On Memorial Day weekend, thousands flock to North Georgia's lakes to officially kick off the summer boating season. This year, there is a new law you need to be aware of to avoid the weekend taking a turn for the worst.
Georgia's New Legal Limit for Boating
On April 23, Nathan Deal signed a new law that lowers the legal limit to operate a boat down to .08, from .10. The lower BUI limit comes after a number of notable accidents on Lake Lanier last season. If you are now arrested under suspicion of BUI, you will be read implied consent for boaters and usually asked to provide a breath sample. Blood can be requested, but because it is much more time consuming to take you to an area hospital to have the blood drawn, DNR and other law enforcement usually asks for breath tests. If you agree to a breath test, you will be taken to the nearest land facility that houses an Intoxilyzer machine to take a breath test on.
Probable Cause to Investigate You
Currently, DNR and other law enforcement patrolling the lakes of Georgia do not need any suspicion of wrong doing to pull your boat over. Under Georgia's laws, these officers can perform a safety inspection at any time by simply approaching your boat and making contact with you. Officers performing safety inspections are not limited to just looking for life vests, etc., but can also use the encounter to judge whether you are impaired. If confronted with a safety inspection, make sure you know the location of your essential gear. Remember too, under Georgia law it is illegal to operate a boat while under the influence and operation doesn't necessairly mean driving over long distances; it can mean simply turning around or navigating for any period of time.
Gainesville BUI Lawyers
If you have been charged with a BUI, or have questions about how to safely navigate the new law and existing regulations, call our office today. Both Mr. Zeliff and Mr. Watson conduct jury trials, bench trials with judges, and administrative hearings in boating under the influence cases. Both lawyers know Gainesville, Bartow, and surrounding courts very well and have handled dozens of BUI cases in these jurisdictions.