Boating Under the Influence (BUI)
Did you know that a boat operator is likely to be become impaired quicker than a driver? The penalties for boating under the influence are just as serious as driving under the influence including steep fines, serious jail sentences and the suspension or revocation of your operating privileges. It is illegal in all fifty states to operate a boat while under the influence of drugs or alcohol and this applies to all boats, canoes, rowboats, larger ships and even foreign vessels operating in U.S. waters. Alcohol is even more dangerous to boaters than it is to drivers. On the water there are vibrations, sun rays, wind and spray which altogether may accelerate the effects of the alcohol. The sun, water, wind and constant movement fatigue the boater making their judgment, hand-eye coordination and reflexes slow more rapidly.
Any vessel that is lawfully stopped and the field sobriety tests will be conducted, if the driver has a blood alcohol content of .08% or higher they are considered under the influence and they will be accused of a misdemeanor RCW 79A.60.040. This crime is punishable for up to 90 days in jail and up to $1,000 in fines.
Boaters are often less experienced out on the water and are far less confident than they are on land. In fact studies show that boaters only average about 110 hours of recreational boat operation per year.
When a boater is impaired they process information slower, lack the proper balance and coordination, and their vision and depth perception suffer making it harder to focus. The Coast Guard has placed strict federal laws in place for anyone who violates the BUI laws. If you are boating on open water in the state of Washington you may be under the jurisdiction of both the federal law and the laws of the state. If a boater is found operating while intoxicated, the Coast Guard may arrest them, detain them until they are sober or turn them over to law enforcement officials.
Protect Your Rights: Hire Ramirez & Walker, Inc.
The penalties of a BUI are severe and a conviction will have a lasting effect of your driving privileges. Before you go out boating for the fourth of July or Memorial Day remember to take along some non-alcohol drinks and water to keep you hydrated. In the eyes of the law a boat is still a vehicle and operational safety is your personal and legal obligation. If you or a loved one has been charged with a BUI you may not know where or who to turn to. Ramirez & Walker, Inc. are here to help protect your rights and investigate the situations that led up to your arrest. Many boaters many not know the laws of the water or realize how fatigued and impaired they are when they are out on the water. Our legal team will aggressively fight for you and work to have your charges minimized or dismissed entirely. Contact our firm today for a free consultation and learn more about the penalties of a BUI charge.