How to challenge a South Carolina BUI charge.

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.

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