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Boating Under the Influence


New Laws in Place for Boats on Lake Lanier

With more than 30,000 acres of crystal blue water, Lake Lanier provides Georgia residents with a place to have fun with family and friends during the hot summer months. Unfortunately, a good time on the lake can turn tragic in an instant.

In response to the three Georgia youths who were killed on the lake last year due to boating or watercraft-related accidents, new legislation crafted by the Georgia Legislature and signed into law by Gov. Nathan Deal aims to better protect lake patrons.

Wondering what this means for you? Well, in addition to new boating safety regulations, the new law also lowers the blood alcohol content for boaters from 0.10 to 0.08 – the same limit enforced for automobile drivers throughout the country.

Officers can pull you over on a boat for just about any reason. Typically, it is for a "safety inspection" to look for life jackets, lights, and ropes. Officers could launch into a BUI investigation and ask you to perform field sobriety tests to see if you are safe to operate the boat, and may also ask you to blow into a breathalyzer machine. Keep in mind that both of these questions require an answer from you, but refusing to do them is completely voluntary. As a certified DUI detection and field sobriety test attorney, I can review the evidence in your case to see if the officer did not conduct the tests or breathalyzer machine correctly.

As you head out to the lake this summer be mindful of others on the water and know your rights!

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