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BUI - Georgia Boating Under the Influence Penalties

Posted by Sam Sliger | Jun 15, 2015 | 0 Comments

BUI - Georgia Boating Under the Influence Penalties

BUI - Georgia Boating Under the Influence Punishments

BUI Arrests On Georgia's Lakes and Waterways:

Boat

During the summer months many people head to the nearest lake with their families and friends to celebrate and have a good time. Being out on the lake is fun, but we must also practice safety.  Alcohol impairs your ability to operate a boat and most people do not boat enough to know the rules of the water. Because most people do not know the rules and do not know how to control their boat accidents happen. This happens without consuming alcohol. Adding alcohol to the equation will cause the accidents to be more catastrophic. There are other things to be considered that could possibly intensify your impairment when you are on the water, such as the motion of the boat and dehydration. Losing your balance is one sign of intoxication when you drink alcohol combine it with the motion of the water, it increases the chances of falling overboard.  Even strong swimmers drown and most people drown because when they fall off a boat and hits his or her head. Also, the sun causes you to sweat and that removes water from your body, but not the alcohol.  This means you can become significantly impaired in a really short period of time if you are not careful. 

Be safe on the water:

Remember safety first when getting out on the water. People not knowing the rules of the water is the cause of most accidents. Being distracted and not paying attention plays a role as well. There is no reason to add intoxication to the mix. If you are arrested for BUI please call me at (706) 778-5291. There are some things that need to be done right away. We need to file an appeal to preserve your privilege to drive.

Anyone convicted of a BUI, will be guilty of a misdemeanor; if it is a third conviction then it will be considered a high and aggravated misdemeanor; and a fourth conviction will be a felony.

The Boat Safety Act of Georgia prohibits persons from boating under the influence (BUI).  BUI means operating a boat, personal watercraft (jet skis), or sailboat, while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.  It is also illegal for the owner of a boat to allow a person to operate the boat or to water ski, aquaplane, surfboard, or similar device being towed by the boat when the owner has reasonable grounds to believe that said person is under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

There have been catastrophic accidents on Lake Lanier that shed light on our boating laws and need for change.  In the Georgia Legislative Session of 2013, the Lake Lanier Legislative Delegation along with the governor of Georgia sought out to update our boating laws. In May of 2013, Georgia Senate Bill 136 went into effect.

The main part of the new BUI law is the change of BAC from .10 to .08.   Now the boating “legal limit” matches the motor vehicle law of .08.  Now there are stiffer penalties for first-time and repeat offenders that are more in line with those that were put in effect in 2008 for automobile DUI violations.

A 1st BUI conviction in ten years, as measured from the dates of previous arrests:

  1. A fine of not less than $300.00 and not more than $1,000.00, which fine shall not, except as provided in subsection (n) of this Code section, be subject to suspension, stay, or probation;
  1. 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, be suspended, stayed, or probated, except that if the offender's alcohol concentration at the time of the offense was 0.08 grams or more, the judge may suspend, stay, or probate all but 24 hours of any term of imprisonment imposed under this subparagraph;

  2. Not fewer than 40 hours of community service, except that for a conviction for violation of subsection (k) of this Code section where the person‘s alcohol concentration at the time of the offense was less than 0.08 grams, the period of community service shall be not fewer than 20 hours;

  3. Completion of a DUI Alcohol or Drug Use Risk Reduction Program as defined in Code Section 40-5-1. The sponsor of any such program shall provide written notice of the Department of Drivers Service's approval of the program to the person upon enrollment in the program;

  4. A clinical evaluation as defined in Code Section 40-5-1 and, if recommended as a part of such evaluation, completion of a substance abuse treatment program as defined in Code Section 40-5-1; provided, however, that in the court's discretion, such evaluation may be waived; and

  5. If the person is sentenced to a period of imprisonment for fewer than 12 months, a period of probation of 12 months less any days during which the person is actually incarcerated.

For A 2nd BUI conviction in ten years, as measured from the dates of previous arrests:

  1. A fine of not less than $600.00 and not more than $1,000.00, which fine shall not, except as provided in subsection (n) of this Code section, be subject to suspension, stay, or probation;
  1. A period of imprisonment of not fewer than 90 days and not more than 12 months. The judge shall probate at least a portion of such term of imprisonment, in accordance with subparagraph (F) of this paragraph, and to such other terms and conditions as the judge may impose; provided, however, that the offender shall be required to serve not fewer than 72 hours of actual incarceration;

  2. Not fewer than 30 days of community service; Completion of a DUI Alcohol or Drug Use Risk Reduction Program as defined in Code Section 40-5-1. The sponsor of any such program shall provide written notice of the Department of Drivers Service's approval of the program to the person upon enrollment in the program;

  3. A clinical evaluation as defined in Code Section 40-5-1 and, if recommended as a part of such evaluation, completion of a substance abuse treatment program as defined in Code Section 40-5-1; and

  4. A period of probation of 12 months less any days during which the person is actually incarcerated.

For A 3rd BUI conviction in ten years, as measured from the dates of previous arrests:

  1. A fine of not less than $1,000.00 and not more than $5,000.00, which fine shall not, except as provided in subsection (n) of this Code section, be subject to suspension, stay, or probation;
  1. A mandatory period of imprisonment of not fewer than 120 days and not more than 12 months. The judge shall probate at least a portion of such term of imprisonment, in accordance with subparagraph (F) of this paragraph, and to such other terms and conditions as the judge may impose; provided, however, that the offender shall be required to serve not fewer than 15 days of actual incarceration;
  1. Not fewer than 30 days of community service;
  1. Completion of a DUI Alcohol or Drug Use Risk Reduction Program as defined in Code Section 40-5-1. The sponsor of any such program shall provide written notice of the Department of Drivers Service's approval of the program to the person upon enrollment in the program;
  1. A clinical evaluation as defined in Code Section 40-5-1 and, if recommended as a part of such evaluation, completion of a substance abuse treatment program as defined in Code Section 40-5-1; and
  1. A period of probation of 12 months less any days during which the person is actually incarcerated.

For A 4th BUI conviction in ten years, as measured from the dates of previous arrests:

  1. A fine of not less than $1,000.00 and not more than $5,000.00, which fine shall not, except as provided in subsection (n) of this Code section, be subject to suspension, stay, or probation;
  1. A period of imprisonment of not less than one year and not more than five years; provided, however, that the judge may suspend, stay, or probate all but 90 days of any term of imprisonment imposed under this paragraph. The judge shall probate at least a portion of such term of imprisonment, in accordance with subparagraph (F) of this paragraph, and to such other terms and conditions as the judge may impose;
  1. Not fewer than 60 days of community service; provided, however, that if a defendant is sentenced to serve three years of actual imprisonment, the judge may suspend the community service;
  2. Completion of a DUI Alcohol or Drug Use Risk Reduction Program as defined in Code Section 40-5-1. The sponsor of any such program shall provide written notice of the Department of Driver Service's approval of the program to the person upon enrollment in the program;

  3. A clinical evaluation as defined in Code Section 40-5-1 and, if recommended as a part of such evaluation, completion of a substance abuse treatment program as defined in Code Section 40-5-1; and

  4. A period of probation of five years less any days during which the person is actually imprisoned; provided, however, that if the ten-year period of time as measured in this paragraph commenced prior to May 15, 2013, then such fourth or subsequent conviction shall be a misdemeanor of a high and aggravated nature and punished as provided in paragraph (3) of this subsection.

If the payment of the fine required will impose an economic hardship on the defendant, the judge, at his or her sole discretion, may order the defendant to pay such fine in installments, and such order may be enforced through a contempt proceeding or a revocation of any probation.

In the sole discretion of the judge, he or she may suspend up to one-half of the fine imposed conditioned upon the defendant's undergoing treatment in a substance abuse treatment program.

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About the Author

Sam Sliger

Sam Sliger is the newest member of McDonald & Cody, LLC. He is proud to be a Graduate from the University of Georgia. Sam is a member of the State Bar of Georgia and a member of the United States District Court.

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