In 2016, a boating accident occurred in Buford, Georgia. A 19-year-old’s foot was amputated and the other foot was cut by a boat that was operated by the teen’s friend. That friend was intoxicated at the time. With summertime at its peak in Atlanta, spending time on the water can be enjoyable and a break from the high temperatures and humidity, but laws must be followed to ensure that everyone remains safe.
Boating Under the Influence in Atlanta
It may come as a surprise that Georgia Boating Under the Influence (BUI) laws are similar to Georgia DUI laws, but the activity is analogous – operating a moving vehicle under the influence of alcohol. The Boat Safety Act of Georgia clearly states that anyone who is operating a boat, wave runner, jet ski, sailboard, or sailboat is prohibited from being under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
In fact, the legal blood alcohol content (BAC) limit for boating is the same as it is for driving a motor vehicle at .08%.
Georgia BUI Penalties for First Offenders
In 2013, Georgia legislation created harsher penalties for all BUI offenders. The more convictions a person incurs, the worse the penalties are. A first BUI conviction is a misdemeanor and can face a fine between $300 and $1000, as well as jail time starting at 10 days or a maximum of 12 months.
40 hours of community service can also be attached to the sentence, as well as the requirement to attend a DUI Alcohol or Drug Use Reduction Program, Clinical Drug and Alcohol Evaluation, and probation lasting up to 12 months.
Second BUI Conviction
A second BUI offense, which would also be a misdemeanor, can incur a fine between $600 and $1000, as well as jail time of 90 days up to a maximum of 12 months and 30 days of community service.
Like first offenders, second offenses may be required to attend a DUI Alcohol and Drug Use Reduction Program, Clinical Drug and Alcohol Evaluation, and probation lasting up to 12 months.
Third BUI Conviction
By the third BUI offense, an offender will be considered a repeat offender, and the charge will be a High and Aggravated Misdemeanor. The fine will be $1000 on up to $5000 and jail time will increase to 120 days up to 12 months.
Community service of 30 days will be highly probable, as well as the requisite DUI Alcohol and Drug Use Reduction Program, Clinical Drug and Alcohol Evaluation, and 12 months of probation. The court may also require the third-time offender to successfully complete a substance abuse treatment program.
Fourth BUI Conviction
A fourth conviction of BUI would be a felony, rather than prior misdemeanor convictions. The fine would be between $1000 and $5000, with jail time of one year up to five years and community service for 60 days. As with prior conviction, the offender will be required to attend a DUI Alcohol and Drug Use Reduction Program, a Clinical Drug and Alcohol Evaluation, and a substance abuse treatment program, and serve up to five years of probation.
There is nothing wrong with taking time to relax in the summertime, but that relaxation time must also be safe for those who are around you. We all make mistakes, and sometimes, unfair accusations occur, as well. If you or someone you know is facing a BUI charge in Atlanta, call Yeargan & Kert, LLC today (404) 467-1747 for a free consultation.