Have you or a loved one been charged with boating under the influence (BUI) of alcohol or drugs? If so, you probably know that you could end up paying hefty fines and losing your boating privileges, and maybe even winding up in jail. However, don’t assume the worst. Hiring a BUI attorney in Charleston, South Carolina, significantly decreases your chances of paying fines and losing privileges. The experienced attorneys at Barrett Law Center can help you keep your boating record clean.
In the state of South Carolina, it’s illegal to operate a boat of any kind – including jet skis and sailboats – when under the influence of alcohol or drugs. A blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08% or higher means that a jury or judge can presume you were drunk while operating the boat. To reach this BAC, a 180-pound man may have only had three or four 12-ounce beers over about a two-hour period, so it can happen more quickly than you think. The mere fact that you are operating a boat legally means you’ve already given consent to be tested for alcohol or drugs.
A field sobriety test (FST) may also be given. You may be asked to stand on one leg, or to recite the alphabet backwards. Anyone involved in a boating accident of any kind in Charleston, SC must stop and assist any injured party and give name, address and vessel ID to the other party. The South Carolina Department of Natural Resources must also be notified immediately.
All BUI’s in Charleston involve the suspension of boating privileges for some period of time. More serious BUI’s can also involve large fines and jail time. For example, while a first offense may result in $200 in fines, more in court costs, and a six-month suspension of boating privileges, a third offense can result in up to $6000 in fines, even more in court costs, and a three-year suspension, along with three years in prison. For BUI’s that involve property damage, bodily injury and death, the penalties are stricter. A boater could be charged with a felony, could spend 25 years in prison, and pay $25,000 in fines.
If you or a loved one are facing a charge of boating while under the influence of alcohol or drugs in Charleston, South Carolina, schedule a free legal consultation with a BUI attorney today. As an attorney at The Barrett Law Center, I can help you keep your boating record intact, keep your boating privileges, and keep you out of jail, all while protecting your reputation. Call me at (843) 408-8455 and continue sailing the South Carolina waters.
I serve Charleston and Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina.