Can you get a DUI driving a boat?
Is there a difference between driving a car or a boat and a DUI?
By definition, a DUI means driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, while a BUI is defined as boating under the influence. Each State withholds the right to determine in a person is safe or not while in control of a moving vehicle, whether it be a car, boat, or personal watercraft. Basically, the difference is that you are determined to be in control of a boat, or personal watercraft, or a motor vehicle while impaired by the influence of alcohol or drugs.
Is the process the same for a BUI and a DUI?
Each State has their own criteria for what constitutes a BUI charge, and it would be in your best interest to understand those laws and abide by them completely. Just as on land, there are tests to help determine if you are capable of navigating a watercraft safely for yourself and those around you. Time of day when the incident occurs will most likely play a key role is what the decision is and if a charge is made against you.
Are the consequences the same?
As with driving a car, opperating a boat can carry very steep consequences as outlined in the following:
- high fines
- loss of boating license
- loss of driver's license
- court appearances
- confiscation of boat
- prison time
- loss of job
- recovery classes
If your particular circimstance includes death, or serious injury or harm towards another, the more damaging consequences would most definitely become part of your new normal to navigate. Negligance and loss of life are serious crimes, whether on land or sea. Some States have a "No Tolerance" when it comes to operating any vehicle and drinking while operating, or intending to operate. And in those cases, you would find that your driver's license would be suspended, or worse,treminated, as well as your boating license. If your job requires you to operate a boat or car, and your license has been suspended (or terminated) your job would be in jeoprady. The domino affect that follows carries astronomical consequences that extend to your finances, credit score, background checks, keeping or retaining a place to live, as well as many other factors.
Would a lawyer help me?
One of the best things you can do is hire a professional and experienced DUI attorney. It will be important that they understand your State's BUI law and are capable of assisting you to navigate the process of either an expungment or how to best proceed through the court and consequences of your actions. In any case, when drinking, it is best practice to appoint a driver for your boat ensuring that you have the freedom to drink and not be impaired while doing so. The loss connected to a BUI and serious injury or death is catastrophic, and doing your best to avoid that is your best case scenario with a designated driver.
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