Boating Under the Influence
In California, the law on Boating Under the Influence (BUI) is similar to the law on driving. Harbors and Navigation Code 655 makes it illegal to operate a watercraft, jet ski, use water skis, drive a boat, or other types of motorized vessels with a BAC of 0.08 or higher, or under the influence of any drugs. If an operator's BAC is double or triple this level, he or she could face a much worse punishment. In addition to the criminal charges, a person can be jailed, held until sober, and fined.
Most first BUI convictions result in the same penalties as a first-time DUI. The charge is a misdemeanor, and you could spend six months to one year in jail. The court may also assess fines up to $1,000. Similar to a commercial DUI, captains operating commercial vessels are subject to the same 0.04% BAC level as truckers or bus drivers. An important distinction for BUIs, however, is that the DMV cannot suspend your license for a BUI like it can for a DUI. That said, you should know that past BUI and DUI convictions will count as priors if you were to be cited for another DUI or BUI - the vehicle that was operated is not considered by the law.
For example, a person who already has a DUI on their record is arrested for BUI. The court treats that as a second DUI. In the converse, a person who has been previously been convicted of a BUI is arrested and convicted for a DUI. That counts as a second DUI, or a second BUI. They add up. So, if you have 3 BUI and 1 DUI convictions on your record, your next BUI or DUI will be your 5th and a mandatory felony DUI/BUI.
Laws against BUIs are the same regardless of the time of year, but local authorities step up enforcement in the summer in California because the waterways are more crowded and BUIs are more dangerous. The law against BUI in California is harsh. A first conviction can result in a fine of up to $1,000, as well as jail time. In addition to the fines, the conviction carries probationary restrictions that may last for up to a year. Offenders are also required to attend alcohol and drug abuse courses. This can be a very expensive and time-consuming process for many. Nevertheless, it is crucial for you to take a boating under the influence charges seriously in order to protect your rights and preserve your liberty.
Additionally, there are several other factors that need to be taken into account before embarking on your boating vacation. Remember that alcohol is a diuretic, and dehydration can intensify the effects of alcohol. Be sure to stay hydrated using water. A driver who is under the influence of alcohol on a hot day may not realize how intoxicated they are. Nice weather mixed with alcohol and good times can sneak up on you fast.
Despite the severity of the penalties, a repeat offender may face jail time, increasing penalties for 3rd, 4th, and 5th BUIs, as well as extensive fines and community service. A conviction for Boating Under the Influence in California carries a serious penalty. If you are caught operating a boat, jet ski, water skis, or other personal watercraft while intoxicated, you will have to undergo a mandatory alcohol course. This is not an uncommon scenario. Since most people don't boat alone, you risk child endangerment charges also depending on the age of your passengers.
While California's law on Boating Under the Influence (DUI) relates to alcohol consumption, boaters should also consider whether the alcohol they consume affects their judgment. A DUI or BUI conviction will result in a hefty fine, so it is important to contact a lawyer immediately if you are suspected of a BUI offense. This is an extremely serious violation, and you should not risk your safety.
If you have been arrested for BUI, contact the Johnson Criminal Law Group to get help with your case. Even if you already have a DUI conviction on your record, you're still in uncharted territory. Have our criminal law experts create a defense for your charges