Misdemeanor BUI in South Carolina

In the same way that driving a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or other mind-altering substance is illegal, so is the operation of a watercraft in South Carolina waters. A charge of BUI, while classified as a misdemeanor crime, is serious nonetheless and may result in imprisonment as well as fines.

BUI Conviction Criteria

To be convicted of a BUI, the state must prove beyond reasonable doubt that:

  • An individual is operating a moving motorized water device or water device undersail in South Carolina waters
  • The watercraft operator’s faculties are materially and appreciably impaired
  • The person’s impairment is a result of being under the influence of alcohol or any other licit or illicit drug.

If a person has a blood alcohol content (BAC) reading of 0.08% or higher, it is presumed that he or she is under the influence of alcohol.

Misdemeanor BUI Penalties

First BUI Conviction

If an individual is convicted of BUI, they are subject to 48 hours up to 30 days of imprisonment or community service, as well as loss of boating privileges for 6 months, mandatory Alcohol and Drug Safety Action Program (ADSAP) course completion, payment of around $500 in fines, and completion of a boat safety course.

Second BUI Conviction

A second conviction could result in imprisonment of 48 hours up to one year or community service, a fine up to $5,000, suspension of boating privileges for one year, and mandatory completion of ADSAP and boating safety courses.

Third BUI Conviction

Conviction of a third BUI could result in imprisonment for 60 days up to 3 years, between $3,500 and $6,000 in fines, suspension of boating privileges for two years, and mandatory completion of ADSAP and boating safety courses.

Previous convictions must have occurred within the last 10 years for a violation of 2nd, 3rd, or higher BUI convictions.

Have you been charged with a BUI and need legal counsel? Contact the law offices of Barth, Ballenger and Lewis today to discuss your case.