Boating Under the Influence in California
Boating under the influence is nearly identical to a drunk driving charge. If you are convicted of BUI, you face serious criminal consequences including jail or prison sentencing, heavy fines and driver’s license suspension.
In the same manner that a person can be arrested for driving a car or truck under the influence of alcohol, a person who is operating a boat can be arrested for boating under the influence. BUI is very similar to a DUI, except for the fact that the boat or watercraft is operated on water as opposed to on dry land.
The state of California is widely known for its year round sunny weather and ample bodies of water. Because of the states welcoming climate, there are nearly one million registered boats and watercraft in the state of California. Having a glass of wine or a couple of beers while on a boat at Lake Castaic, Lake Elsinore or on Pyramid Lake is common practice for Southern Californians. It is not against the law to enjoy a couple of drinks while out on the open waters; however, if your BAC is at or above .08% and you get behind the wheel of a boat or jet skis, you can be arrested for BUI.
Even if you had just a couple of drinks, if you are involved in an accident of any kind with a BAC over the limit, you can be charged with BUI. Unfortunately, in the state of California, if you are arrested for BUI, your ability or to operate a boat is not the only thing affected, your driver’s license can be suspended (even though you were not driving an automobile), you could be sent to jail and you could face fines, penalties and mandatory enrollment in an alcohol treatment program.
In the state of California, a BUI conviction will appear the same as a DUI on your California DMV record; therefore, it is crucial that you treat your BUI arrest with the same level of seriousness as you would a DUI arrest. Not only is your driver’s license at stake, your insurance rates can be significantly raised and you could gain a permanent criminal record.
If you want to have the best chances of avoiding a criminal conviction, you will need to hire a criminal defense attorney right away. Your lawyer will be able to guide you through the arrest and any possible defenses to your BUI charge. In fact, some BUI cases can qualify for misdemeanor diversion and no criminal record for the accused! You have just 10 days of your arrest to stop the automatic California DMV Administration Per Se Driver’s License Suspension action against your driver’s license, you will need to act fast in order to contest the charges against you. Don’t wait another minute, contact a criminal defense attorney without delay!