A charge of operating a boat while under the influence of alcohol or drugs (BUI) is just as serious as a driving under the influence (DUI) charge. If convicted, a person can face hefty fines and possible jail time, depending on the circumstances of the case. If you or a loved one has been charged with boating under the influence (BUI), it is essential to hire an experienced South Carolina BUI defense lawyer to help you defend yourself against these allegations.
At Truslow & Truslow, we have a team of attorneys with the skills, knowledge, and experience to protect you from the severe consequences of a BUI conviction. Do not wait any longer, call us at (803) 590-6688 or fill out a contact form to schedule a consultation today.
What Is Boating Under the Influence (BUI)?
Boating under the influence (BUI) is the act of operating a boat while under the influence of alcohol or any other mind-altering substance. This act is illegal because it can cause serious harm to the operator of the boat, passengers aboard, swimmers, and other boaters. BUIs are treated very similar to DUIs, and there can be severe consequences for those who are convicted.
In recent years, law enforcement has implemented routine “safety checks” on waterways. If an officer suspects that you are impaired while operating a watercraft, you may be arrested or forced to take a breathalyzer test. A conviction for a BUI charge can result in suspended privileges, fines, imprisonment and a criminal record. At Truslow & Truslow, we know BUI charges can be daunting—fortunately, our BUI attorneys are well-versed in boating laws and can craft a persuasive defense to minimize the damage of a BUI charge.
A BUI is a serious accusation that could carry harsh penalties, but you can only be convicted with evidence that is acquired legally. At Truslow & Truslow, we will make sure that law enforcement meets the standards required to punish someone so severely. If the evidence was gained improperly, we could make sure that it is not admitted to court. If the evidence is not enough to convict you or shows that you have not committed a crime, we will work to have the case against you dropped.
Even in the event of a conviction, there are ways to mitigate the punishment. At Truslow & Truslow, we know that everyone makes mistakes. Our lawyers are skilled at negotiating with the court to make sure that our clients do not suffer unjustly for simple mistakes. We are here to help you explore all of your legal options and find a solution that lets you move on with your life.
To be convicted of a BUI, the arresting officer must prove that you were “materially and appreciably” impaired, and therefore unfit to operate a watercraft. Criminal charges for a BUI rely on the defendant’s conviction history and other factors. If convicted, penalties for a misdemeanor BUI charge include:
- First offense: 48 hours – 30 days of jail time, community service, fines, suspended boating privileges for a period of six months, completion of an Alcohol and Drug and Safety Action Program (ADSAP), and a mandatory boating safety course.
- Second offense: 48 hours – one year of jail time, community service, a maximum $5,000 fine, suspended boating privileges for a period of one year, completion of an ADSAP, and a mandatory boating safety course.
- Third offense: 60 days – 3 years of jail time, a fine of $3,500 – $6,000, suspended boating privileges for two years, completion of an ADSAP, and a mandatory boating safety course.
You may be charged with a felony BUI if your intoxication causes great bodily harm or death to another. These crimes carry criminal penalties of 1 – 25 years imprisonment or a $5,000 – $10,000 fine.
A BUI conviction can be life-changing, both monetarily and socially. Legal and financial penalties are not the only consequences that a BUI conviction could lead to. Just like with DUIs, there are long-term costs that could affect your plans for the future.
A BUI conviction could prevent you from operating a watercraft for months to years. Job opportunities, scholarships, and your future potential could all be lost if you are convicted of BUI. Fortunately, being charged with BUI does not guarantee a conviction. An experienced criminal defense attorney could help you get the charges against you dropped or reduced.
Contact a BUI Lawyer in South Carolina
If you are accused of boating under the influence (BUI), you will need strong legal representation. Though a BUI charge can be intimidating, the skilled BUI lawyers at Truslow & Truslow can help you through this challenging time. If you or someone you know is facing BUI charges, call our Columbia offices at (803) 590-6688, fill out a contact form on our site, or chat with us live to get started on your case today.
Why You Need a Lawyer
Defending yourself from a boating under the influence (BUI) accusation can be challenging. Legal requirements and procedures can be demanding, and the strain on your personal life can be exhausting. Don’t put yourself through the stress and turmoil of facing this challenge alone—let Truslow & Truslow help.
The law is a complex and difficult thing to learn. It can take years of study and practice before truly understanding the nuances and intricacies. Defending yourself from any accusation takes close attention to detail and a deep understanding of what the law is and how it works.
At Truslow & Truslow, our lawyers have that knowledge and experience, and we will put it to use for you. We believe that everyone deserves their fair day in court, and we will work tirelessly to make sure that you have the aggressive representation that you need. Contact us at (803) 590-6688 right away so we can defend you against the BUI charge you are facing.
Why You Should Choose Truslow & Truslow
Truslow & Truslow is staffed with knowledgeable and experienced attorneys who put the needs of their clients first. Our lawyers—the father and son team of Douglas and Neal Truslow—are passionate defense attorneys with decades of practice in representing our clients. Both Neal and Douglas have extensive experience handling complex criminal defense cases. We are dedicated to our practice, and we will work diligently to ensure that our clients have the representation that they need to defend themselves against criminal accusations like BUI. Let us put our experience to work for you.
The lawyers at Truslow & Truslow know the arguments that prosecutors commonly use and how to counter them. We are aware of the legal standards that prosecutors need to meet before there can be a conviction, and we will make sure that no conviction can take place before those standards are met. Finally, we know how to negotiate with the court and other involved parties to get the best result that we can for our clients. At Truslow & Truslow, our lawyers are widely experienced and will put that experience to use defending you when you have been charged with boating under the influence.