According to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, there were a total of four deaths reported this past holiday weekend on Georgia waterways. Three people reportedly drowned while swimming and the fourth never resurfaced after jumping from a moving boat.
Moreover, there were close to thirty people arrested for boating under the influence over the Fourth of July weekend. Most of the arrests happened on Lake Lanier and Lake Allatoona.
As a Georgia DUI Lawyer, I handle boating under the influence cases quite regularly as Georgia is known for its waterways as well as its strict laws regarding both BUI and DUI in Georgia. In today's post, I will cover the law behind the offense of BUI in Georgia as well as the penalties faced if convicted of the offense.
BUI in Georgia
By law, boating under the influence is defined as:
Operating any boat, personal watercraft (jet skis, wave runners), water skis, sailboat, or sailboard while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Also, it is illegal for an owner of a boat or personal watercraft to let anyone operate their boat or personal watercraft while they are under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
Every person convicted of violating this Code section shall, upon a first or second conviction thereof, be guilty of a misdemeanor; upon a third conviction thereof, be guilty of a high and aggravated misdemeanor; and upon a fourth or subsequent conviction thereof, be guilty of a felony. Georgia BUI Penalties include the following punishments for a first BUI conviction:
- A fine between $300 and $1,000.
- A period of imprisonment of not fewer than ten days nor more than 12 months, which period of imprisonment may, at the sole discretion of the judge.
- At least 40 hours of community service.
- Completion of a DUI Alcohol or Drug Use Risk Reduction Program.
- A clinical evaluation.
- A probation of 12 months less any days during which the person is actually incarcerated.
Most people are erroneously under the impression that BUI charges aren't as serious as DUI charges. However, the potential penalties are definitely serious. Contact our offices today if you have been arrested for boating under the influence in Georgia. We can help you now.