A tragic event near Savannah, Georgia is a stark reminder of the importance of boating safety. In May, five people were killed after a boat collision on the Wilmington river. The driver of one of the boats was arrested in connection with the crash and charged with boating under the influence.
Boating Under the Influence
It is important to note that boating under the influence is a serious offense in Georgia. It is illegal to operate any moving vessel while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Many people may not realize this includes more than just motorized boats and jet skis, it also includes surf boards, water skis, and sailboats.
In addition to this, marine law enforcement are permitted to make routine stops on public waterways. That means they can stop a boat or watercraft without seeing any wrongdoing or having probable cause. That is very different from rules about traffic stops, where law enforcement do need to have at least a reasonable suspicion before they pull someone over.
The doctrine of implied consent also applies if you are asked to take a blood test in Georgia. So, that means you are permitted to drive a water vessel with the understanding that an officer may take a blood sample to check your blood alcohol level. And if you refuse to give the sample, your boating privileges may be taken away for one year, even if you are not convicted of a BUI.
BUI in Georgia is a Serious Misdemeanor
A BUI is a serious misdemeanor and can come with jail time, fines and community service. It can become a more serious offense if children are on the boat or there is an accident that causes injury. But, a BUI will not affect your ability to drive a motor vehicle in the state of Georgia.
Arrested for BUI? Call Schiavone Law Group
If you are operating a water vessel this summer, we hope you stay safe and sober. And if you are arrested for a BUI in Georgia, Schiavone Law Group’s experienced legal team can help! Contact us today.