Mark Pettitt, age 26, was arrested on a charge of driving under the influence (DUI) on Saturday, December 15, 2018. Pettitt was recently elected to become the next Hall County Board of Education member, replacing retiring board member Brian Sloan. Pettitt is elected to represent the board's South Hall starting in January.
Pettitt was stopped near the intersection of Jesse Jewell and EE Butler parkways about 2 AM that Saturday morning. He was arrested for suspected DUI as well as failure to maintain lane. He was released from the Hall County jail later that day.
Pettitt was also cited for boating under the influence (BUI) in Forsyth County back in February of 2017. He pled guilty on a misdemeanor charge of BUI and served probation until November 2018. His BUI became an issue during the Republican primary for the school board seat.
As to his current DUI charge, Pettitt's attorney reminded the press that his client is "innocent until proven guilty."
Boating Under the Influence
In the state of Georgia, it is illegal to operate any motor vehicle or other moving vessels while under the influence of alcohol, illegal drugs, prescription drugs, over-the-counter drugs, or other substances that can cause intoxication. While most people think of the typical "drunk driver" of a car, all too common is a charge of boating under the influence.
O.C.G.A. 52-7-12 states that:
(a) No person shall operate, navigate, steer, or drive any moving vessel, or be in actual physical control of any moving vessel, nor shall any person manipulate any moving water skis, moving aquaplane, moving surfboard, or similar moving device while: [driving while under the influence of an intoxicating substance.]
The State Has to Prove Its Case
The prosecutor has to prove that you were "less safe" to operate the vehicle as a result of intoxication. It is not enough that you simply had a beer and there is alcohol in your system; the prosecutor must show signs of intoxication that would influence your ability to safely operate the boat or watercraft.
However, just like when driving on Georgia roads, you can receive a "DUI per se" if your blood alcohol content (BAC) measures 0.08% or higher after you have taken an approved chemical test back at the police station or jail. If you are under the age of 21, you can be arrested for having a BAC of just 0.02% while operating a boat.
The last major distinction is that, unlike drivers of cars, a boater is allowed to be stopped at any time and for any or no reason. No probable cause is necessary to stop a boat on Georgia's public waterways. All of this applies only to boaters on public waterways, not on private lakes or ponds.
Consult a Fulton County DUI Attorney
If you or someone you care for has been arrested for DUI or BUI in the state of Georgia, an experienced Fulton County DUI attorney has the years of experience needed to defend your case and protect your rights. Contact us today for a free consultation.