With the new changes to Georgia's DUI laws and administrative procedures, many people may assume that Georgia's Boating Under the Influence Laws may have also changed.
The assumption is reasonable because in 2013 Georgia changed the BUI laws to parallel our DUI laws. The Boating Under the Influence Penalties were modified to be the same as the laws for driving under the influence, accept there was no driver's license suspension.
On July 1, 2017, Georgia amended its administrative license appeal procedures. However, the ALS procedures for Boating Under the Influence have not changed.
If the DNR or a local sheriff's office charged you with a BUI, you have 10 days to file an appeal, or you will risk losing your privilege to operate a vessel on our waterways.
- There is no $150 filing fee to appeal, as there is with DUI cases.
- The boating suspension goes into effect after the 10 days, even if there has not been a hearing scheduled. In a DUI case, the state cannot suspend someone's license without first providing a hearing and due process.
- The boating privilege is completely decided at the administrative hearing; whereas, in a DUI case, a person can lose their license at the ALS hearing or after being convicted in the criminal court.
- The DNR is represented by the Attorney General's Office; whereas, most police officers represent themselves at DUI ALS Hearing. The exception is that the Georgia State Patrol has an attorney that represents State Troopers as needed.
- It is the position of our office that taking away a person's privilege to operate a vessel, before having a hearing, violates their Due Process Rights. Just because (for most people) boating is not as important as driving, losing the privilege to operate a boat can have both an economic and personal impact on someone. For one thing, people who work at a marina, boat for a living. For many individuals who call our office, boating is a way of life.
If you have been charged with a BUI in Georgia, call now for our help. We understand that boating is important to you. For more information about Georgia’s BUI Laws vs DUI Laws, check back.