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 state.
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.