What is Boating Under the Influence DUI (O.C.G.A. § 52-7-12)?

Have you been charged with Boating Under the Influence (BUI)? Did the officer charge you with a BUI under Alcohol, Drugs, Prescription medication, marijuana, Violation of Controlled Substances Act (V.G.C.S.A.)?

A BUI charge is one of the most heavily used and frequently received charges in the State of Georgia while operating a “vessel,” “craft,” or boat on the water. Many people receive this charge who have never been in trouble.

This charge is also an inadequately represented charge in criminal law for our clients. A Criminal Defense Attorney MUST have proper training to assure that the client receives the representation for which they are not only looking, but for which they are paying.

You need a criminal lawyer who has proper BUI defense training.

If handled improperly, this charge can affect your criminal history, your ability to operate a boat (or your boating privileges) can be suspended, time in jail, community perception and many other issues with your life.

Any charge involving Boating Under the Influence requires that the driver be under the influence of alcohol, drugs or some other substance while in control of the watercraft or boat.

Charges for Boating Under the Influence

The most typical, and frequently used, charge for Boating Under the Influence is alcohol. The State of Georgia and legislature refers to the charges for BUI and they are commonly referred under the statute 52-7-12 and much like DUI the solicitor prosecuting the case will refer to them as BUI PER SE and BUI LESS SAFE.

The simple difference between these two charges involves whether or not the breath test that the officer “asks for” is either over .08 Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) or under .08 Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) or deemed a refusal.

Should the driver refuse to submit to either a portable breath test or intoxilyzer at the police station house (most often at the jail), the officer will treat the charges as less safe and rely on their observations noted in their report to support the charges.

You will need to file a motion to stop the suspension of your boating privileges (similar to the 30 day letter for a DUI suspension), BUT it will not suspend your privileges to drive a vehicle or your drivers license.

The observations that the officer notes, or writes, in his report is referred to under a seated Battery version of the Standardized Field Sobriety Testing (or SFST’s). These tests comprise a battery of testing to evaluate drivers and are taught by properly qualified and trained instructors certified by the National Association of State Boating Laws Association (NASBLA, https://www.nasbla.org/home) to the maritime officers (usually DNR or Department of Natural Resource officers, https://gadnrle.org/bui).

Some officers receive what is called “wet training” at the basic testing level, which is usually comprised of a minimum of two days, while others only get a 4-hour class.

You NEED an experienced lawyer on your side.

This is just another reason that our clients need an experienced criminal defense attorney to help them. Without an experienced lawyer, the client would not be able to properly defend against an officer who has not had the proper training and has made errors in the officers BUI evaluation of the client.

Whenever someone is arrested for Boating Under the Influence, the officer is required by law to arrest them. Make sure you hire the best lawyer to represent you.

For a free consultation and evaluation of your charges, call our criminal law office. Our lawyers have the knowledge and skills to assist you.

Just because you have been charged with a BUI does not mean you have to accept guilt, it means you need to hire our top rated criminal defense attorneys to mount a proper defense for YOUR Boating Under the Influence charges.

Our offices have a 24-hour answer line (404-445-8494) where someone is available to answer your call and help. Call us now for a free case evaluation.