Memorial Day - Start of BUI Season on Lake Murray

With Memorial Day weekend now behind us, we are officially underway with what law enforcement refers to as the "100 deadliest days of summer." This begins a big push accross the state to make arrests for not only driving under the influence (DUI), but also boating under the influence (BUI).

Over this weekend on Lake Murray I observed numerous officers from the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, along with various Sheriff's Departments patrolling the lake and approaching boaters. Lake Murray is actually patrolled by no less than five separate agencies:

  • South Carolina DNR
  • Richland County Sheriff's Department
  • Lexington County Sheriff's Department
  • Newberry County Sheriff's Department
  • Saluda County Sheriff's Department
  • United States Coast Guard

If you are stopped by law enforcement on Lake Murray you should remember that you have many of the same legal rights as you would if you were stopped in a vehicle. These include:

  • Right to remain silent - you are not required to answer any questions about where you are going or coming from or if you have had anything to drink. Anything you say can be used as evidence against you later in Court - remaining silent is not allowed to be brought up against you.
  • Right to refuse field sobriety testing - this includes requests to perform tests either on the water or back on the shore. Taking these tests can be used as evidence against you later in Court. Not cooperating cannot be held against you.
  • Right to not allow law enforcement to dig through your boat's trash or coolers - Just because you are on a boat you do not lose all rights to your privacy. You do not have to consent to any search requests by law enforcement, including to search through your trash (usually to count cans), or your cooler (to confirm that you are carrying alcohol).
  • Right to resuse a breath test - If you are arrested and taken for a breath test you do not have to consent. This will not suspend your driver's license, but you may temporarily lose your right to operate a boat in South Carolina. If you do take a breath test the results can be used against you in Court. If you refuse our BUI Defense Lawyers can help restore your right to operate a boat again.

If you have been arrested for BUI anywhere in South Carolina, including a Lake Murray BUI Arrest, contact the defense attorneys at the Law Office of James R. Snell, Jr., LLC. We offer free consultations to those arrested for any boating related offense. To schedule your appointment please contact us at 1-888.301.6004. Appointments are scheduled at our office located at 316 South Lake Drive in downtown Lexington, South Carolina.

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