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Laws against drunk driving of a vehicle on the highway are well known. Driving under the influence while boating is also a crime.
Boating under the influence
Specifically, boating under the influence or BUI, means operating a boat or other watercraft such as water skis, aquaplane, sailboat with a motor, a jet ski or an inner tube pulled by a motor boat while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. The craft can be pulled over by federal or state authorities in the same way that police officers stop road vehicles for suspected driving under the influence. Checkpoints are set up on the water like checkpoints on the highway to stop and investigate boat and watercraft drivers. Unlike operating a car, a boat is permitted to have open containers of alcohol and drinking is allowed aboard. The law simply prohibits operating the craft under the influence, or Blood Alcohol Content of 0.08 percent.
Penalties and large fines are imposed for California BUI offenses, so you need to be aware of charges and how to acquire a proper defense.
Laws for BUI
Complex laws often cover BUI incidents, and can be more or less severe in penalty with regard to charges. Previous drug and alcohol convictions will elevate criminal penalties. If a person refuses to take the drug or alcohol test required, intoxication is assumed and fines are increased. If death or injury to another incurs during the intoxicated operation of a boat or watercraft, penalties may involve a year in prison and a fine of up to $5000. If a simple stop occurs and a person is found to be intoxicated with no damages, the individual may be required to take and pass a boat safety course before being allowed to operate the vehicle again. The license to operate a boat or watercraft may be suspended from six months to five years.
Because of the complexity of boating laws, a thorough understanding of these laws is required for adequate representation in a court of law.
Mitigating factors for BUI
Factors affecting the performance of a boat operator can be influenced by environment, as well as alcohol or drugs. Motion of a boat can bring on severe dizziness. Sun can cause exhaustion. Glare may lessen ability to view obstacles in the water. All these factors will have a bearing upon how your arrest for BUI will be resolved.
Like the operator of a car or truck, you have a right to a Per Se hearing before the DMV to determine whether there was probable cause to legally stop you and whether your BAC was 0.08 percent. Once arrested for BUI, 10 days are permitted to file this request.
Contacting an experienced criminal defense lawyer is advisable to assist in defending you against BUI charges and their steep fines and penalties. These lawyers understand complex California laws pertaining to operating water craft under the influence and can make an aggressive defense on your behalf.