SC BUI Laws
As with SC DUI laws, many boaters from the Charleston SC area want to see the actual BUI statutes for themselves. The penalties for a BUI are essentially the same as a DUI. There is loss of boating privileges, fines, ADSAP, and possible jail time (or public service depending on BAC level and whether there is accident or injury involved). Of course, if you cause serious injury while boating and drinking, you can be charged with a felony and face time in prison. Better to let others enjoy a day on the water and not take chances. But for those who want to read the actual SC BUI statutory law for themselves, here it is for your review and enjoyment:
SECTION 50-21-112. Operation of moving motorized water device or water device under sail while under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol; offense; penalties.
(A) It is unlawful for a person to operate a moving motorized water device or water device undersail upon the waters of this State while under the:
(1) influence of alcohol to the extent that the person’s faculties to operate are materially and appreciably impaired;
(2) influence of any other drug or a combination of other drugs or substances which cause impairment to the extent that the person’s faculties to operate are materially and appreciably impaired; or
(3) combined influence of alcohol and any other drug or drugs, or substances which cause impairment to the extent that the person’s faculties to operate are materially and appreciably impaired.
For purposes of this section “drug” means illicit or licit drug, a combination of licit or illicit drugs, a combination of alcohol and an illicit drug, or a combination of alcohol and a licit drug.
(B) A person violating this section is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, must be punished:
(1) for a first offense, by a fine of two hundred dollars or imprisonment for not less than forty-eight hours nor more than thirty days. However, in lieu of the forty-eight hour minimum imprisonment, the court may provide for forty-eight hours of public service employment. The minimum forty-eight hour imprisonment or public service employment must be served at a time when it does not interfere with the offender’s regular employment under terms and conditions, as the court considers proper. However, the court may not compel an offender to perform public service employment instead of the minimum sentence;
(2) for a second offense, by a fine of not less than two thousand dollars nor more than five thousand dollars and imprisonment for not less than forty-eight hours nor more than one year. However, the fine imposed by this item may not be suspended in an amount less than one thousand dollars. Instead of service of imprisonment, the court may require that the individual complete an appropriate term of public service employment of not less than ten days upon terms and conditions the court considers proper. Upon imposition of a sentence of public service, the defendant may apply to the court to be allowed to perform his public service in his county of residence if he has been sentenced to public service in a county where he does not reside;
(3) for a third offense, by a fine of not less than three thousand five hundred dollars nor more than six thousand dollars and imprisonment for not less than sixty days nor more than three years.
(C) Any person convicted of operating a water device in violation of subsection (A), in addition to any other penalties, must be prohibited by the department from operating any water device within this State for six months for the first conviction, one year for the second conviction, and two years for the third conviction. Only those violations, which occurred within ten years including and immediately preceding the date of the last violation, shall constitute prior violations within the meaning of this section.
A person whose privilege is suspended under the provisions of this section must be notified by the department of the suspension and of the requirement to enroll in and successfully complete an Alcohol and Drug Safety Action Program certified by the Department of Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Services prior to reinstatement of the privilege. An assessment of the extent and nature of the alcohol and drug abuse problem, if any, of the applicant must be prepared and a plan of education or treatment, or both, must be developed based upon the assessment. Entry into and successful completion of the services, if such services are necessary, recommended in the plan of education or treatment, or both, developed for the applicant is a mandatory requirement of the restoration of privileges to the applicant. The Alcohol and Drug Safety Action Program shall determine if the applicant has successfully completed the services. The Department of Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Services shall determine the cost of services provided by each certified Alcohol and Drug Safety Action Program. Each applicant shall bear the cost of services recommended in the applicant’s plan of education or treatment. The cost of services must be within the limits set forth in Section 56-5-2990(C). No applicant may be denied services due to an inability to pay. Inability to pay for services may not be used as a factor in determining if the applicant has successfully completed services. If the applicant has not successfully completed the services as directed by the Alcohol and Drug Safety Action Program within one year of enrollment, a hearing must be provided by the Alcohol and Drug Safety Action Program and if further needed by the Department of Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Services.
The department and the Department of Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Services shall develop procedures necessary for the communication of information pertaining to reinstating the privilege, or otherwise. The procedures must be consistent with the confidentiality laws of this State and the United States.
A person convicted under this section, in addition to any other penalties, shall be required by the department to attend and complete a boating safety education program approved by the department. The person required to attend the program shall reimburse the department for the expense of the program. The person’s privilege to operate a water device within this State shall be suspended until successful completion of the required program.
(D) The suspension penalties assessed under this section are in addition to and not in lieu of any other civil remedies or criminal penalties which may be assessed. No part of the minimum sentences provided in this section may be suspended.
(E) For the purposes of this chapter any conviction, entry of a plea of guilty or of nolo contendere or forfeiture of bail, for the violation of any law or ordinance of this or any other state or any municipality of this or any other state that prohibits any person from operating a vessel or water device while under the influence of alcohol or drugs or a combination of both constitutes a prior offense for the purpose of any prosecution for any subsequent violation of this section. Only those offenses which occurred within a period of ten years including and immediately preceding the date of the last offense constitutes prior offenses within the meaning of this section.
HISTORY: 1991 Act No. 138, Section 1; 1993 Act No. 181, Section 1269; 1999 Act No. 124, Section 2.E.
SECTION 50-21-113. Operation of moving water device while under the influence of alcohol or drugs resulting in property damage, great bodily injury or death; penalties.
(A) A person who, while under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or the combination of alcohol and drugs operates a moving water device, or is in actual control of a moving water device within this State and causes great bodily injury or death of a person other than himself, is guilty of a felony and, upon conviction, must be punished by a mandatory fine of not less than:
(1) five thousand dollars nor more than ten thousand dollars and mandatory imprisonment for not less than thirty days nor more than fifteen years when great bodily injury results;
(2) ten thousand dollars nor more than twenty-five thousand dollars and mandatory imprisonment for not less than one year nor more than twenty-five years when death results.
No part of the mandatory sentences required to be imposed by this section may be suspended, and probation may not be granted for any portion.
(B) As used in subsection (A) “great bodily injury” means bodily injury which creates a substantial risk of death or which causes serious, permanent disfigurement or protracted loss or impairment of the function of any bodily member or organ.
(C) A person who, while under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or the combination of alcohol and drugs operates or is in actual control of a moving water device within this State and causes damage to property other than his own, or injury other than great bodily injury to a person other than himself, is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, must be punished by a fine of not less than five hundred dollars or imprisonment for not more than thirty days, or both.
(D) The department shall suspend the privilege of a person who is convicted or who pleads guilty or nolo contendere under this section to operate a water device or be in actual control of a moving water device within this State for a period to include any term of imprisonment plus:
(1) three years in the case of death or great bodily injury; or
(2) one year in the case of property damage or injury other than great bodily injury.
(E) The suspensions under this section are in addition to and not in lieu of any other civil remedies or criminal penalties.
HISTORY: 1999 Act No. 124, Section 2.F.
SECTION 50-21-114. Chemical test or analysis of breath, blood, or urine; implied consent; presumptions arising from blood alcohol content levels.
(A)(1) A person who operates a water device is considered to have given consent to chemical tests or analysis of his breath, blood, or urine to determine the presence of alcohol, drugs, or a combination of both, if arrested for an offense arising out of acts alleged to have been committed while the person was operating or directing the operation of a water device while under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or a combination of both. A test given must be administered at the direction of the arresting law enforcement officer. At the direction of the arresting officer, the person first must be offered a breath test to determine the alcohol concentration of his blood. If the person is physically unable to provide an acceptable breath sample because he has an injured mouth, is unconscious or dead, or for any other reason considered acceptable by licensed medical personnel, a blood sample may be taken. If the officer has reasonable grounds to believe the person is under the influence of drugs other than alcohol, the officer may order that a urine sample be taken for testing. If the breath analysis reading is eight one-hundredths of one percent or above by weight of alcohol in the person’s blood, the officer may not require additional tests of the person as provided in this chapter.
(2) The breath test must be administered by a person trained and certified by the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED), using methods approved by SLED. The arresting officer may administer the tests if testing is done in conformity with the standards set out by SLED. Blood and urine samples must be taken by physicians licensed by the State Board of Medical Examiners, registered nurses licensed by the State Board of Nursing, or other medical personnel trained to take the samples in a licensed medical facility. Blood samples or urine samples must be obtained and handled in accordance with procedures approved by SLED. No tests may be administered or samples taken unless the person has been informed that he does not have to take the test or give the samples, but that his privilege to operate a water device must be suspended or denied for one hundred eighty days if he refuses to submit to the tests.
(3) A hospital, physician, qualified technician, chemist, or registered nurse who takes samples or conducts the test or participates in the process of taking the samples or conducting the test in accordance with this section is not subject to a cause of action for assault, battery, or any other cause alleging that the drawing of blood or taking of samples at the request of the arrested person or a law enforcement officer was wrongful. This release from liability does not reduce the standard of medical care required of the person taking the samples or conducting the test. This qualified release also applies to the employer of the person who conducts the test or takes the samples. No person may be required by the arresting officer, or by any other law enforcement officer, to obtain or take any sample of blood or urine.
(4) The person tested or giving samples for testing may have a qualified person of his own choosing conduct additional tests at his expense and must be notified of that right. A person’s failure to request additional blood or urine tests is not admissible against the person in a criminal trial. The failure or inability of the person tested to obtain additional tests does not preclude the admission of evidence relating to the tests or samples taken at the direction of the law enforcement officer.
(5) The arresting officer must provide reasonable assistance to the person to contact a qualified person to conduct additional tests.
(6) SLED must administer the provisions of this subsection and may promulgate regulations necessary to carry out its provisions. The cost of the tests administered at the direction of the law enforcement officer must be paid from the general fund of the State. A fee of fifty dollars must be assessed at the time of the sentencing against persons convicted of, pleading guilty or nolo contendere to, or forfeiting bond for violating Section 50-21-112 or Section 50-21-113. This fee must be forwarded by the county treasurer to the State Treasurer and credited to the general fund of the State to defray any costs incurred by SLED and individuals and institutions obtaining the samples forwarded to SLED.
(B) In any criminal prosecution where a test or tests were administered pursuant to this chapter, the amount of alcohol in the person’s blood at the time of the alleged violation, as shown by chemical analysis of the person’s breath or other body fluids, gives rise to the following inferences:
(1) If there was at that time five one-hundredths of one percent or less by weight of alcohol in the person’s blood, it is presumed conclusively that the person was not under the influence of alcohol.
(2) If there was at that time in excess of five one-hundredths of one percent but less than eight one-hundredths of one percent by weight of alcohol in the person’s blood, this fact does not give rise to any inference that the person was or was not under the influence of alcohol, but this fact may be considered with other competent evidence in determining the guilt or innocence of the person.
(3) If there was at that time eight one-hundredths of one percent or more by weight of alcohol in the person’s blood, it may be inferred that the person was under the influence of alcohol.
(C) The provisions of this section may not be construed as limiting the introduction of other competent evidence bearing upon the question of whether or not the person was under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or a combination of them. Refusal, resistance, obstruction, or opposition to testing pursuant to this section is admissible as evidence at the trial of a person charged with the offense that precipitated the request for testing.
(D) A person who is unconscious or otherwise in a condition rendering him incapable of refusal is considered to be informed and not to have withdrawn the consent provided by subsection (A).
(E) If a person under arrest refuses, upon the request of a law enforcement officer, to submit to chemical tests provided in subsection (A), none may be given, but the department, on the basis of a report from the law enforcement officer that the arrested person was operating a water device within this State while under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or a combination of them, and that the person had refused to submit to the tests, must suspend his privilege to perform the above-mentioned activities for one hundred eighty days. The one hundred eighty-day period of suspension begins with the day after the date of the notice required to be given, unless a hearing is requested as provided, in which case the one hundred eighty-day period begins with the day after the date of the order sustaining the suspension. The report of the arresting officer must include what grounds he had for believing the arrested person was conducting the above-mentioned activity while under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or a combination of them.
(F) Upon suspending the operating privilege of a person, the department immediately shall notify the person in writing and upon his request give him an opportunity for a hearing as provided in Article 3, Chapter 23, Title 1 of the 1976 Code. The review must be scheduled by the Administrative Law Court in accordance with the division’s procedural rules. The scope of the hearing is limited to the issues set out by the Administrative Procedures Act and the division’s procedural rules. Upon order of the administrative law judge, the department either shall rescind its order of suspension or continue the suspension of the privilege.
(G) If a boating accident or marine casualty involves a fatality, the coroner having jurisdiction shall direct that a chemical blood test be performed on the deceased, within forty-eight hours of receiving notification of the death, to determine blood alcohol concentration or the presence of drugs, and that the results of the test be recorded properly in the coroner’s report.
(H) The suspensions under this section are in addition to and not in lieu of any other civil remedies or civil penalties which may be assessed.
HISTORY: 1991 Act No. 138, Section 1; 1993 Act No. 181, Section 1269; 1999 Act No. 124, Section 2.G; 2003 Act No. 61, Section 3.