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November 27, 2017

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Boating Under the Influence

March 15, 2018

 

Boating is one of the most popular activities in and around the Charleston area. As the warmer months approach us, boaters are gearing up for sunny days on the water. For some boaters, these outings involve alcohol, which can be dangerous and potentially lead to a Boating Under the Influence (BUI) charge.

 

South Carolina law prohibits operating boats or jet skis while under the influence of alcohol. Under the influence is defined as, “impairment to the extent that the person's faculties to operate are materially and appreciably impaired.” (S.C. Code Ann. § § 50-21-10, 50-21-112(A))

 

What are the consequences for a BUI in South Carolina?

 

BUI 1st

  • Misdemeanor which is punishable by imprisonment of 48 hours to 30 days, a fine, or community service.

  • You will have to complete:

    • The Alcohol and Drug Safety Action Program (ADSAP)

    • A boating safety course

  • Your ability to drive a boat will be suspended for 6 months.

 

BUI 2nd 

  • This is punishable by imprisonment of 48 hours up to one year and a fine of up to $5,000.

  • You will have to complete:

    • The Alcohol and Drug Safety Action Program (ADSAP)

    • A boating safety course

  • Your ability to drive a boat will be suspended for one year.

 

BUI 3rd

  • This is punishable by imprisonment of 60 days to 3 years and a fine of $3,500 to $6,000.

  • You will have to complete:

    • The Alcohol and Drug Safety Action Program (ADSAP)

    • A boating safety course

  • Your ability to drive a boat will be suspended for 2 years.  

 

BUI Felony

  • A BUI is considered a felony if the intoxicated operator causes death or great bodily injury (creates substantial risk of death or cause serious permanent disfigurement) to someone else.

  • Punishments

    • Great bodily injury

      • The judge will sentence the boater to up to 15 years in jail and fine the person between $5,000 and $10,000.

    • Death

      • The judge can sentence the operator up to 25 years in prison. The fine will be between $10,000 and $20,000.

 

Similar to a DUI, when arrested for BUI, you will be taken to a police station and asked to “blow” in order to test your blood-alcohol content (BAC). Here’s what the numbers mean:

  • 0.00%-0.05%- Presumed not under the influence

  • 0.05%-0.08%- Jury cannot take inference of intoxication

  • 0.08% or higher- Jury can infer operator was under the influence

  • If you refuse to take the Breathalyzer, your privilege to operate a boat will be suspended for 180 days.  

 

Obviously, there are many rules and regulations that come into play with BUI’s. If you or a loved one gets caught in troubled waters, please do not hesitate to contact the Skipper Law Firm- email: chris@skipperlawfirm.com or phone: (843)723-7177.

 

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