In South Carolina there is a criminal statute making it unlawful to operate
a boat while under the influence of alcohol or other drugs. Boating under
the influenced, or BUI, is becoming more and more of a common offense
as boaters on South Carolina lakes, rivers and coastal areas find themselves
arrested by DNR, Sheriff and other law enforcement agencies.
When you are arrested for BUI you are being formally charged with an unlawful
operation of a boat. An arrest is not a conviction, and you have an absolute
legal right to fully challenge and contest your arrest in Court. You will
not face any of the BUI penalties until you are convicted in Court. You
become convicted by pleading guilty, no contest or after being found guilty
after a trial.
BUI penalties in South Carolina include a fine, possible jail sentence
and a suspension of your boating privileges. Additionally everyone convicted
of BUI will have a publicly available criminal record which will be available
to current and former employers. In South Carolina you may be terminated
or refused employment for being convicted of BUI.
There are several possible avenues to challenge a BUI arrest. You have
a right to a trial by jury, pre-trial discovery and to challenge the police
officer's conduct in the investigation and arrest process. Further
if your case involves the submission of a breathalyzer result there may
be ways to challenge its admissability in Court. The first step for anyone
arrested for BUI who wants to try to avoid a conviction will be to discuss
their case with a criminal defense attorney.
James Snell is a
South Carolina BUI Defense Attorney representing clients who have been arrested on Lake Murray and surrounding
areas charged with BUI. To schedule your initial appointment with his
office call 24 hours a day at 1-888-301-6004.