Serious Injury By Vessel

Have you been Charged with Serious Injury by Vessel? 

Boating is a very popular recreational activity in Georgia. People like to water ski, jet ski, tube, float around, and just enjoy lake life. However, occasionally people get careless, and someone ends up getting seriously injured. Boating accidents generally happen due to a lack of attention, showing off, or recklessness but can result in broken bones, spinal cord injuries, or brain injuries. Within the last few years, boating safety has been a focus for Department of Natural Resources after numerous deaths have occurred on the lake. If you have been charged with serious injury by a vessel, contact the Law Offices of Richard Lawson and his team of Georgia Serious Injury by Vessel Attorneys today. They have years of experience so let their experience work for you. Don't wait; contact our offices today.

Pursuant to Georgia law, O.C.G.A. §52-7-12.4 reads as follows:

A person will be found guilty of serious injury by a vessel when without malice, they cause bodily harm to another by depriving him or her of a member of his or her body, by rendering a member of his or her body useless, by seriously disfiguring his or her body or a member thereof, or by causing organic brain damage which renders the body or any member thereof useless through the violation of any of the following statutes:

  1. No person shall operate a personal watercraft on the waters of this state at a speed greater than idle speed within 100 feet of any moored or anchored vessel, or vessel adrift, or any wharf, dock, pier, piling, bridge structure or abutment, person in the water, or shoreline adjacent to a full-time or part-time residence, public park, public swimming area, marina, restaurant, or other public use area. O.C.G.A. §52-7-8.2(j)
  2. No person shall operate, navigate, steer, or drive any moving vessel, or be in actual physical control of any moving vessel, nor shall any person manipulate any moving water skis, moving aquaplane, moving surfboard, or similar moving device while under the influence of alcohol, drugs, toxic vapors, or the combined influence of two or more of the substances mentioned to the extent that it is less safe for the person to operate, navigate, steer, driver, manipulate, or be in actual physical control of a moving vessel, moving water skis, moving aquaplane, moving surfboard, or similar moving device. O.C.G.A. §52-7-12
  3. Any person who operates any vessel or manipulates any water skis, aquaplane, surfboard, tube, or similar device in reckless disregard for the safety of persons or property commits the offense of reckless operation of a vessel or other water device. O.C.G.A. §52-7-12.1
  4. Except for lifesaving, emergency, law enforcement, or dam operation and maintenance craft, it shall be unlawful to launch, float, or operate:
    1. Any power boat within the boundaries of the boating safety zones defined in subsection (a) of this Code section; or
    2. Any vessel within the boundaries of those boating safety zones defined in subparagraphs (a)(2)(A) and (a)(2)(B) of this Code section, provided such zones are marked in accordance with the uniform waterway marking system. O.C.G.A. §52-7-13(b)
  5. It shall be the duty of the operator of a vessel involved in a collision, accident, or other casualty, so far as he can do without serious danger to his own vessel, crew, and passengers, to render to other persons affected by the collision, accident, or other casualty such assistance as may be practical and as may be necessary in order to save them from or minimize any danger cause by the collision, accident, or other casualty and also to give his name, address, and identification of his vessel in writing to any person injured and to the owner of any property damaged in the collision, accident, or other casualty. O.C.G.A. §52-7-14(a)
  6. Every vessel subject to this article if underway and upon being hailed by a designated law enforcement officer shall stop immediately and lay to or shall maneuver in such a way as to permit the officer to come aboard. O.C.G.A. §52-7-25(c)

What Does this Mean? 

In sum, Georgia law provides that a suspect must be guilty of one of the above-mentioned offenses before they can be guilty of serious injury by a vessel. You cannot be found guilty of felony serious injury by a vessel if you are not charged or found guilty of one of these predicate offenses.

Consequences for a Serious Injury by Vessel Conviction

A person convicted of serious injury by vessel will be guilty of a felony and will face a penalty of imprisonment for a period between one and five years. A conviction of serious injury by vessel will also suspend your boating privileges for three years. You might be required to attend a boating safety class as well as an alcohol and drug evaluation if the incident involved alcohol.

How Can We Help You? 

Felony charges carry substantial penalties as well as have negative implications on your life. You may have a hard time obtaining credit once you have a felony conviction and it can make finding a job difficult. The Law Offices of Richard Lawson and his team of Serious Injury by Vessel Attorneys will work with you to either get your charges reduced or work out a plea deal where you do not receive as much time in prison.

Georgia Defenses to Serious Injury by Vessel

1. Failure to Prove the Predicate Offense. If you are not guilty of one of the predicate offenses such as DUI etc., then you cannot be guilty of felony serious injury by vessel.

2. One thing your Attorney will look into if it applies to your case is what speed exactly you were going. If you can prove that you were adhering to idle speed, then you cannot be guilty of serious injury by vessel. 

3. If you can demonstrate that you were not under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or toxic vapors, then your Attorney will move to have the charges reduced or dismissed because of your particular circumstances.

4. On another note, your Attorney will also look into whether or not you were actually within the boundaries of the boating safety zone.

Contact Us Today to Protect You

No one knows better than our office the seriousness of Georgia's Serious Injury by Vessel statutes. You are facing severe penalties, and we are prepared to help you fight your case. We are here 24 hours a day, 365 days a year even nights, weekends, and holidays. Contact us today for a free consultation.

Our Attorneys



    Richard was not the first lawyer I spoke with after my DUI charge, but he was the last when searching for representation. This was my very first time encountering any sort of legal dispute so I had no idea what I was doing and I was very scared. Richard was very friendly, down to earth and consol... Read On

  • Miracle Worker!

    Not only did Richard Lawson and his very capable associate get my DUI reduced to reckless driving with parole, but he did something that I didn't think was possible. I was stopped for a moving violation recently. The police arrested me because they showed my driver's license had been suspended. H... Read On

  • Ideal attorney for anyone

    Mr. Lawson is outstanding. He was professional, attentive to any requests, and got the outcome I wanted but thought was unachievable. I had been arrested for a DUI. The case was very difficult, intricate, and was seemingly without hope, but Mr. Lawson was able to get the charges drastically reduc... Read On

Recent Case Results

  • This case was in Helen Municipal Court.  The client was charged with a DUI and four counts of DUI Child Endangerment.  In Georgia, for every child under the age of 14 in a vehicle it is considered a separate DUI offense.  The client would have been declared an habitual violator from one arrest an... Read On

  • Client was charged with a suspended license because he did not reinstate his privilege to drive after the expiration of his restricted license.  Per my advice, the client properly reinstated his license the day after he was charged.  Case Dismissed in Cobb County State Court.  Read On

  • Client was a resident of New York who was arrested while he was visiting Georgia for pleasure. He was charged with DUI, Reckless Driving, and Speeding 37 MPH over the speed limit. We were able to get the client an unbelievable outcome in Hampton, Georgia. His DUI dismissed, his speeding ticket wa... Read On

Choosing the Best DUI Lawyer

When you are arrested for DUI in Georgia, finding the right Lawyer is Job #1. At the Law Offices of Richard S. Lawson we will investigate your case and find the best possible legal defense to your DUI in Georgia. You are in good hands with Richard Lawson and his associates. We will work tirelessly to help you while compassionately holding your hand throughout the entire DUI Defense Process.

Georgia DUI Defense Attorneys

At the Law Office of Richard S. Lawson, we have offices conveniently located throughout metro Atlanta and throughout Georgia. If we do not have a convenient office, we will come to you. We practice throughout Metro Atlanta and North Georgia. If your case is in an area we do not serve, we will find you an attorney in your area free of charge. Our office is part of a State-wide network of Georgia DUI Lawyers. Contact us 24/7 for immediate legal help. Our attorneys are standing by. Your DUI Case will not defend itself. Your Best Georgia DUI Defense Begins Here!