Summer is definitely coming. With backyard barbeques firing up and those
air conditioners working overtime, the weather is already warm enough
to make many of us look longingly at those dusty boats parked outside
the house. All over the state of Georgia, people are getting out those
boats, swimsuits, ice chests, and cold beers for some quality time outside
in the water and sunshine. Before you hit the lake, however, just make
sure you're aware of some new BUI laws in the state of Georgia that
could affect you.
While in the past boaters weren't considered to be above the legal
limit unless their blood alcohol content was 0.1% or higher, that number
has now been lowered to .08%--meaning that just one or two beers could
stand between a fun summer day and a legal fiasco. This BAC level is equivalent
to the legal limit that drivers face on the road. Previously, only eight
states in the nation (including Georgia) permitted a higher BAC level
for boaters than for automobile drivers.
In addition, the punishments for those caught operating a boat while under
the influence of alcohol have increased as well. Now, someone convicted
of boating under the influence will face a $300 fine plus community service
and jail time—and that's just for a first offense.
These tougher laws went into effect in mid-May, WTVY-TV reports. Police
officials say that the state has seen a disturbing and dangerous trend
of intoxication while boating in the recent past. The state sees an average
of 200 BUI cases per year, according to Col. Eddie Henderson, the chief
of Georgia's Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Law Enforcement
Division. Officials are hopeful that these new BUI guidelines and penalties
will curb this trend. While other rules of the road, such as stop lights
and crosswalks, may not apply to waterways, police say alcohol and boating
shouldn't mix any more than alcohol and driving do. Currently, the
DNR employs 200 law enforcement rangers to patrol bodies of water within
The laws went into effect just one day after the National Transportation
Safety Board released a recommendation that all 50 states lower the permissible
blood alcohol level for automobile drivers from .08% to .05%.
If you're facing intoxication charges, then don't wait to
contact an Atlanta DUI attorney at our office as soon as possible.