While much attention is focused on those who drive under the influence on Georgia roads, many may need to consider the laws that govern the operation of a boat or other watercraft while under the influence during this summer season. For many in the state, having a few alcoholic beverages while boating may seem like common practice. However, drunk driving regulations still apply while on the water, and restrictions have been tightened over the past three years.
A recent article describes how water-related laws in Georgia have changed over the past several years. Currently, the state’s legislation allows someone piloting a boat to have a blood-alcohol content of .08 or less – precisely the amount allowed for someone driving a car. Just a few years ago, the limit was .10, though it was tightened after several high-profile deaths occurred in the state that were attributed to alcohol.
Beyond the regulations that apply to drinking, boaters may also want to consider other rules while on Georgia’s lakes this summer. For example, there are no hours of operation that apply to lakes and river for boaters, as long as their lights are turned on during nighttime hours. However, other small watercraft, such as jet skis, are not allowed between the hours of sunset and sunrise.
If a boater in Georgia is accused of a Boating Under the Influence (BUI) charge, he or she may benefit from the counsel of a respected criminal law attorney. Though not as prevalent, even a simple BUI charge can result in a misdemeanor charge that can carry a fine of $1,000 and/or a prison sentence up to one year. An attorney who focuses on drunk driving defense and other vehicle infractions will be in the best position to discuss the various legal defenses that apply to a person’s specific case if charged with this type of crime.
Source: ajc.com, “Boating drinking laws: Important rules and regulations in Georgia“, Ana Santos, May 23, 2016