Boating is a favorite pastime for many Georgians. While I’m not a regular lake goer, many of my family’s friends frequently visit Atlanta’s Lake Lanier and middle Georgia’s Lake Oconee (among others) during the warm summer days of June, July and August. It’s easy to get into the “lake state of mind” when on the water: enjoying a few drinks while hanging out with friends, not eating a whole lot because you’re out on the water, etc. All of this can be the recipe for a great weekend or a recipe for disaster if you’re not armed with the knowledge of how to avoid Boating Under the Influence (BUI)
, according to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, is defined as “operating, navigating, steering, or driving any moving vessel while under the influence of alcohol to the extent that it is less safe for the person to operate, steer, etc. such a vehicle.” Just as with a DUI (driving under the influence)
charge, there are legal blood alcohol content (BAC) limits in Georgia
for individuals under the age of 21, that level is .02 gram; for people over 21, the limit is .10 grams. It’s important to understand that the legal limit for BAC while driving an automobile over the age of 21 is different (.08 grams).
Similar to DUI stops though, is what you should do if stopped for BUI
. Never submit to any field sobriety tests or state blood, breath, or urine tests. While your license to operate a water vessel can be suspended up to a year by doing so, it will not suspend your motor vehicle driver’s license. If someone should die as the result of a BUI related incident, you could receive up to 15 years in prison (similar to vehicular homicide
). As you can see, a BUI offense should not be taken lightly. With over 31 years of experience as a DUI attorney in Georgia
, I have seen too often the havoc a charge like this can have on an individual’s life if handled improperly.
Be safe on the waterways this summer. If you haven’t already, I invite you to sign up for my monthly newsletter
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and Georgia BUI regulations.