Myrtle Beach Conway Horry Georgetown BUI Defense Attorney
Over the past several years there have been boating accidents resulting in fatalities on South Carolina waterways. This has led to a significant increase in the enforcement of boating under the influence (BUI) laws in South Carolina. A boating under the influence charge is serious, and if convicted you may face a mandatory suspension of your boating privileges, jail, a fine and a criminal record.
Many experienced boaters are unaware of the amount of law enforcement currently patrolling Horry and Georgetown County waterways, lakes, and the ocean. The Intracoastal Waterway and the Atlantic Ocean, depending on the location, is patrolled by police departments in North Myrtle Beach and Myrtle Beach. Horry County Police, the Horry County Sheriff's department, and the Georgetown County Shreiff's department along with the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources and the United States Coast Guard also patrol these waters.
Boating Under the Influence is treated as a “zero tolerance” offense which means that arrests can be made with only minimal evidence. This makes it important for anyone arrested for Boating Under the Influence to consult with an attorney prior to appearing in Court.
If you have been arrested for Boating Under the Influence you likely have several questions about your case:
What legal rights do I have?
Did the police have the right to stop my boat?
Should I have performed the field sobriety tests?
Can field sobriety tests be done on a moving boat?
Did I make the right decision with the breathalyzer?
Attorney, Trent Chambers is ready to review your Boating Under the Influence case. You will receive a thorough review of South Carolina BUI law and court procedures along with a possible legal or factual defenses. Attorney Chambers will answer any specific questions you have about your case. Once you make the decision to retain Boating under the influence attorney, Trent Chambers for your case he will implement a step by step process designed to ensure that your rights are vigorously protected. Attorney Chambers can also assist you in filing an appeal if you have been convicted for Boating Under the Influence even if you were originally represented by another lawyer or you went to Court by yourself.
South Carolina BUI Penalties
South Carolina has different levels of BUI offenses depending on the prior history of BUI convictions as well as the facts of the case. The base charge for Boating Under the Influence is contained in S.C. Code § 50-21-112(B)(1). The full name for the law is “operation of moving motorized water device or water device under sail while under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol.” This offense carries up to thirty days in the county jail. The penalty is enhances for those with prior convictions, BUI 2nd carries up to one year in prison and BUI 3rd carries a minimum of 60 days to a maximum of three years. These penalties are in addition to a publically accessible criminal record, possible fines and loss of boating privileges.
Sheriff and DNR BUI Cases
BUI arrests made by local law enforcement or the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources will generally be referred to Magistrate Court for first offenses. Those with prior convictions will face prosecution of their 2nd or 3rd level charge in the Court of General Sessions and there the State will be represented by the Solicitor’s office.
Coast Guard BUI Cases
The United States Coast Guard regularly patrols Lake Murray performing safety inspections which include looking for impaired boaters. If you have been arrested by the Coast Guard, even for a first offense BUI, your case will be referred for prosecution to Federal Court. James Snell is admitted to practice in the United States Court for the District of South Carolina and can represent you on any Coast Guard BUI case.
Felony BUI Defense
The most serious type of BUI offense is a Boating Under the Influence with Great Bodily Injury or Death. These are exceedingly serious criminal charges that can result in up to twenty five years (or more) imprisonment. We recommend that defendants facing this level of charge make use of marine accident reconstructionists, private investigators and other professionals and expert witnesses to establish a strong defense. The Chambers Law Firm will make use of every available resource to ensure that our client’s rights are protected when facing any felony level Boating under the influence.
If you are being investigated by the police after involvement in a serious boating accident you have a right to consult with a lawyer before agreeing to be interviewed. Contact Attorney, Trent Chambers Boating Under the Influence Defense Lawyer Today. We represent clients charged with BUI or related offenses pending anywhere in South Carolina. Initial appointments are provided at no charge to prospective clients. To schedule your appointment call our office at (843) 692-7953. All initial consultations are conducted in person at our office located at 1600 North Oak Street, Suite D, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.