Just a few months ago, Georgia House and Senate lawmakers passed a new law that lowered the legal blood alcohol limit for boaters to 0.08 – the same limit that drivers across the country abide by. The law, which went into effect in May, also included stricter regulations on life jacket requirements, an age limit on operating some watercraft, and underage drinking and boat operation.
The law was named after Griffin and Jake Prince of Buford, and Kile Glover of Atlanta – three children who were killed on Lake Lanier last year in boating accidents. The Prince siblings were killed by a boater who was allegedly under the influence of alcohol, while Glover was killed by a jet ski operator who was charged with driving recklessly.
Other than the current blood alcohol limit, what else do you need to know about Georgia BUI laws?
- In Georgia, BUI is a misdemeanor charge, and unlike DUIs in the state, multiple charges do not result in a felony.
- If you are stopped for suspicion of BUI, you will likely be asked to undergo a series of tests, including a breathalyzer test, a finger-to-nose test, and a horizontal gaze nystagmus test. You may refuse to take these tests, though there may be consequences for doing so.
- A BUI or a refusal to take a sobriety test results in the temporary loss of your boating privileges. If you would like to challenge the suspension, you have ten days to do so after the charge or incident.
- When stopping cars for DUIs, officers must have suspicion before pulling you over. However, when it comes to watercraft, authorities can conduct a safety check on your boat at any time without reason. Many BUI arrests occur after a routine safety check, but many others come when boaters first violate another boating regulation.
- Be aware that if you are drinking while boating with a child aboard your watercraft, you could face child endangerment charges in addition to your BUI charge.
Have you or a family member been charged with BUI under the new Georgia boating laws? It is important that you understand the laws and understand your rights. At the Law Office of Scott Miller, we can help you make certain that you get the best outcome possible. To request a case evaluation by an experienced Georgia BUI attorney, call today: 770-408-1001.