Almost everyone knows about DUI (driving under the influence), DWI (driving while intoxicated), and OUI (operating under the influence) charges, but a much smaller population is familiar with a BUI (boating under the influence) charge. Simply put, it is drinking while operating a boat.
Drinking While Boating
It is not illegal to drink while on a boat, but in most states, a boat operator’s blood alcohol content (BAC) should not exceed .08, similar to most DUI laws. In fact, it is possible for a boat to be stopped for erratic operation, and a field sobriety test (FST) issued to the boat operator. However, unlike with DUI, field sobriety tests for suspected BUI incidents are typically voluntary. Even when the field sobriety test is administered with consent, the value of the results are often sketchy at best because there is very little validation on the accuracy of marine FSTs.
BUI is generally a criminal offense, although in some states, like Washington, it is a misdemeanor. The penalties are also relatively light: there is no ignition interlock or suspended license, but an individual could be incarcerated and made to pay hefty fines. If arrested and charged with BUI, it is possible to avoid conviction even if a boat operator’s performance on field sobriety tests was less than ideal. Many individuals charged with BUI, or any other alcohol-related crime, turn to the professional legal assistance of a BUI attorney.
Boating under the influence is just as serious as DUI in many ways. However, as is the case with DUI charges, being accused of BUI is not the same as being convicted, and there are many options that those facing BUI charges have available to them to help them protect their rights and freedoms and avoid potentially serious penalties.