Boating Under the Influence – BUI in Georgia
Georgia is filled with some of the most beautiful bodies of water in the country, including: Lake Lanier, Lake Hartwell, Lake Oconee, Lake Allatoona, Lake Sinclair, and Lake Jackson. Unfortunately though, in 2017, state statistics show that there were over 270 boating under the influence (BUI) related accidents on Georgia’s lakes.
In Georgia, it is against the law to operate or be in actual physical control of any moving vessel while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. In addition, Georgia law further forbids you to operate or move, while under the influence, water skis, aquaplanes, surfboards or other similar devices.
The punishment for a BUI in Georgia can be very severe, including fines, jail time, and loss of boating privileges. Under Georgia Law, if you are operating a boat, you are deemed to have given consent to have a breath or blood test conducted by an officer (i.e. DNR, marine patrol, coast guard) under Georgia’s BUI Implied consent law. Refusing the requested test can result in a suspension of your boating privileges for 12 months.
Law enforcement can stop you and request to board your boat at any time – these safety checks do not require any probable cause or reasonable articulable suspicion. It is incredibly important to keep your boat in full compliance with all state laws and local ordinances.
Having open containers on a boat is not against the law. Neither is the driver of the boat drinking – But, it is illegal for that driver to be above a 0.08 blood alcohol content, if over 21 years old. If stopped, always be polite and cooperative. Answer all questions asked as it pertains to you name, information, and boat information. It is illegal to drink if you’re under 21, including on a boat! For boat drivers under 21, the “legal limit” is 0.02 blood alcohol level. But, drinking any amount is still illegal and can still result in criminal charges.
If you or someone you know has been recently arrested for a BUI or other crime while on Georgia’s waterways, it’s incredibly important to contact an experienced attorney to represent you. Call Chehimi Law anytime to schedule your free consultation at 678-878-3125.