South Carolina Boating Under the Influence Lawyer

Water sports are a popular recreational activity across the state of South Carolina, particularly in lake-filled areas like Richland County and Lexington County. South Carolina has strict laws regarding the operation of any watercraft while impaired by drugs or alcohol. This prohibition extends to motorboats, sailboats, and other vessels.

A boating under the influence (BUI) conviction may not only result in significant financial penalties but also a lengthy period of incarceration. If you have been charged with operating a watercraft while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, you need to speak with an experienced attorney.

A South Carolina boating under the influence lawyer has specific knowledge of the laws and ramifications surrounding BUI charges and can thoroughly evaluate your legal options as well as appropriate defense strategies. A skilled criminal defense lawyer can work hard to preserve your freedoms and mitigate the legal consequences of your charges.

Legal Penalties for Boating Under the Influence

The penalties associated with a BUI conviction vary widely depending on a few different factors. If someone is injured or killed, elevated penalties will apply to a BUI charge. If the individual charged has been convicted of a BUI before, they will also face an enhanced sentence. A tenacious boating under the influence attorney can evaluate someone’s charges in South Carolina and advise what penalties may apply given the facts of the incident and their criminal history, if any.

A BUI charge can be punished either as a misdemeanor or a felony offense depending upon the circumstances. The majority of BUI’s are punishable as misdemeanors. When a person is convicted of a BUI for the first time, the court can sentence them to two days in prison and revoke boating rights for up to six months. A period of community service can be imposed instead of jail time. A financial penalty of up to $200 can also be assessed.

Even as a misdemeanor offense, the legal punishments for a second or third BUI are considerably graver than those for a first-time offender. A second BUI conviction within ten years of the first can result in the court revoking the individual’s boating license for 12 months, plus a maximum financial penalty of $5,000. Finally, if someone is convicted of a BUI for the third time, the court can impose a jail sentence of three years, along with a financial penalty not exceeding $6,000.

A BUI becomes a felony offense if someone is harmed or killed during the underlying incident. For example, if a person sustains grave harm due to the boat operator’s drug or alcohol impairment, the offender can be sentenced to up to 15 years in jail, in addition to financial penalties and loss of their boating license. A diligent drunk boating attorney can examine the evidence available and the charges leveled by the prosecution to build the most robust defense possible to BUI allegations.

South Carolina BUI Criteria

Having open alcohol on board a boat is not typically enough to lead to BUI charges by itself. According toSouth Carolina Code of Laws § 50-21-112, a person is considered to be impaired while driving a motorized water vessel if their cognitive abilities are substantially weakened by alcohol or drugs.

As a knowledgeable attorney can further explain, South Carolina law establishes a legal blood alcohol limit that defines impairment for a BUI. If a person tests with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.05 percent or below, they would not meet the impairment criteria.

However, if an individual has a BAC that meets or surpasses 0.08 percent, they can be charged with a BUI and should contact a drunk boating lawyer. Further, persons who try to avoid testing and decline to take a breathalyzer can still face sanctions, including a moratorium of their boating rights.

Get in Touch with a South Carolina Boating Under the Influence Attorney Today

If you are facing BUI charges, your first call should be to a South Carolina boating under the influence lawyer. A drunk boating attorney can defend your interests and explore the most powerful strategies to work towards a positive adjudication of your charges. Call now to arrange your confidential consultation with a dedicated BUI attorney.