Savannah BUI Attorneys
Defending You Against Drinking and Boating Charges
Georgia law prohibits boaters from operating any watercraft while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. The law also dictates that watercraft owners cannot let someone else who is intoxicated drive their vehicle. This extends beyond boats to include water skis, sailboards, or any other water vehicles.
Boating under the influence (BUI) laws mirror those for DUI, charging anyone with a blood alcohol concentration above .08%, or above .02% if they are under 21. It also can be charged if drugs are detected. If you or a loved one have been charged with a BUI, it’s not too late to fight for freedom. Call The Lerch Law Firm for professional defense and a team dedicated to working towards dropping your charge.
Contact The Lerch Law Firmto fight your BUI charge today.
BUI guidelines are similar to DUIs, and so are the consequences. The Georgia Boat Safety Act states that BUI is a misdemeanor punishable by:
- Possible loss of boating or operating watercraft privileges
- Fines up to $1,000
- Up to one year in jail
If you’ve been arrested for BUI, the officer may issue a notice suspending your boating privileges. You must contest this suspension within 10 days or risk losing your boating license for one year. Failure to appeal this suspension will result in immediate suspension of boating privileges.
Circumstances Resulting in Harsher Penalties
If you had a child under 14 on board at the time, you are also subject to a child endangerment charge. These allegations exist separately from the BUI and can result in a fine of $1,000 and a year in prison per child endangerment charge. While a single child endangerment charge is treated as a misdemeanor, three or more charges will be elevated to a felony and could result in up to three years in prison and a $5,000 fine.
Field Sobriety Tests
Unlike DUI cases where the police officer needs a cause to pull you over, your boat could be stopped even while abiding by all the safety regulations on the water. Officials are allowed to stop boaters on a whim for routine safety checks. During these, if they suspect the possibility of BUI, they have the power to test you and potentially make an arrest.
Georgia waters maintain the same implied consent rules as their roadways, where anyone operating a vehicle has consented to any alcohol or drug tests requested by an officer. To test sobriety on the water, law enforcement officials will often conduct the following tests:
- The Alphabet Recitation, where the boater will have to start and end on specific letters
- The Finger Touch Test, where the officer instructs you to touch your thumb to your other fingers while counting
- The Hand Pat Test, where the boater is told to count while turning over their hands and clapping
- The Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus Test
- The Number Count, where the boater counts up to 20 and back down to 1 while the officer listens for irregularities
- The Preliminary Breath Test
Our attorneys will review any evidence the arresting officers collected and scrutinize it for inconsistencies or irregularities that could be used to weaken the evidence against you. We promise to aggressively come to your defense as we work towards dismissing the arguments of the officer and preserving your freedom.
For more information about fighting a BUI charge in Savannah, call us at (912) 417-5008.
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