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Columbia BUI Lawyer

Boating Under the Influence of Alcohol or Drugs

Contact us at Masella Law Firm, P.A. as early as possible after you have been charged with boating under the influence of alcohol or drugs. It often does not occur to a person that this is a crime until they are arrested, and we understand what a stressful and even overwhelming situation this may be for you.

An attorney from our firm is ready to meet with you to review your case and give you an unbiased opinion as to what can be done to defend you against the charges which have been leveled against you by the state. With proven courtroom experience and a track record that includes prosecuting cases similar to yours, we know how to effectively challenge the evidence in the case and are prepared to fight for you.

What are the criminal penalties for BUI in Columbia?

Boating under the influence is prohibited under §50-21-112 of the South Carolina Code of Laws, which states that it is a misdemeanor criminal offense. A first time conviction is punishable by a $200 fine and between forty-eight hours and thirty days in jail, with the option of completing community service in lieu of the minimum jail sentence. A repeat offense carries a fine of up to $5,000 and as much as a full year in jail, while a third offense is punishable by a $6,000 fine and between sixty days and three years of imprisonment.

A conviction would also most likely lead to you being prohibited from operating a watercraft anywhere in the state for up to six months for a first offense, a year for a second offense or two years for a third conviction. You would additionally be required to complete an Alcohol and Drug Safety Action program at your own expense, which includes an assessment of your alleged substance abuse problem and extensive treatment and education. Beyond the terms of your sentence, you would also have to face a future of living with a criminal record, which can make it difficult or even impossible to find suitable employment.

Fighting BUI Charges in Columbia, SC

Challenging a BUI case is similar to fighting charges of DUI, and involves raising many of the same questions. For example, was the equipment used to collect your breath sample correctly calibrated and maintained? Was the officer properly trained to administer the test? If you took a chemical test, was your blood sample properly handled so as to prevent contamination, and is there an unbroken chain of custody of the sample? Did the officer investigate you based on probable cause?

An attorney from our criminal defense firm may be able to have the charges dismissed or to win your case at trial, but you have to take the first step right now by contacting us for help!


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With over two decades of experience working with family law, personal injury and criminal defense cases throughout South Carolina, we at Masella Law Firm, P.A. are prepared to guide you through the legal process. Click below to be taken to our secure payment page.