During the summer months, Georgia boaters are out enjoying our many waterways. Unfortunately, some people run afoul of the law.
Georgia BUI Laws have some similarities with our DUI laws, but there are several differences. When someone is charged with Boating Under the Influence in Georgia, he or she needs to understand not only the law itself but the differences between BUI and DUI in Georgia:
A Georgia boater has ten days to file an appeal of their suspension to operate a vessel. However, unlike in driving cases, their privilege to operate a boat is suspended after ten days, until such time that a hearing is held.
Unlike in a DUI case, there is not a $150 filing fee to appeal the suspension to operate a vessel. However, the appeal must still be filed timely.
The outcome of the Georgia BUI Case will have no effect on your driver's license.
A Boating Under the Influence charge is a full misdemeanor offense in Georgia, with punishment up to 12 months in jail and a $1000 fine.
Unlike a DUI offense, a person can plead guilty under the Georgia First Offender Act. As a result, the adjudication of their guilt can be withheld. Once a person's probation is completed (without any violations), an adjudication of "not guilty" will be entered.
Georgia BUI Laws do not apply to personal floatation devices and plastic rafts. That being said, be careful. It is easy to be hurt by another boat while impaired.
Both The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and the Sheriff's office can investigate and enforce Georgia Boating Rules and Regulations.
If charged, the case will be heard in Probate Court or State Court. However, Felony Boating Under the Influence cases will be heard in Superior Court.
Unlike while driving a motor vehicle, the DNR does not need an articulable suspicion to investigate a boater. They can do a safety check, and if a person is found to have violated a law, they can make an arrest.
Georgia BUI Penalties mostly parallel Georgia DUI Penalties.
Never forget to be safe this boating season and have fun!