Written by attorney Blake Kelley

BUI...boating under the influence.

Boating Under The Influence It is unlawful to operate any sail or powered vessel while under the influence of intoxicants or drugs. Here are some important facts to consider: Implied consent: All persons operating a sail or powered vessel have given their implied consent to a sobriety test. Failure to consent to testing is a separate offense and may result in suspension of vessel operating privileges for six months. Presumption of Guilt: A vessel operator whose tests show .08 of alcohol is presumed under the influence and his or her ability to operate a vessel is impaired. Blood-alcohol test required: State law requires that blood-alcohol content be taken from all operators involved in an accident where death or serious injury occur. Penalties: Conviction for operating under the influence will result in fines of up to $2,500 on the first offense, $2,500 on the second offense and $5,000 for the third offense. A jail sentence of 11 months and 29 days may also be imposed for any conviction, probation is mandatory for any offense, and operating privileges may be suspended from one to ten years. Additional federal penalties may also be charged. Tennessee law prohibits anyone from boating under the influence (BUI) --that is, operating any vessel propelled by a motor or sail while under the influence of alcohol or any combination of alcohol, controlled substance, or drugs. Alcohol and drugs cause impaired balance, blurred vision, poor coordination, impaired judgment, and slow reaction time. Alcohol contributes to about one-third of all boating accidents nationwide. According to the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) 2002 Boating Statistics alcohol involvement in reported accidents accounted for 39 percent of all boating fatalities--up five (5) percent from 2001. A Coast Guard study estimates that boat operators with a blood alcohol concentration above .10 are more than 10 times as likely to be killed in a boating accident as boat operators with zero (0) blood alcohol concentration Tennessee.... law states that a person is presumed to be under the influence if the concentration of alcohol in his or her blood is 0.08% or more. (Effective July 1, 2006, the level of Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) at which a person is presumed to be under the influence was reduced from .10% to .08%.) ....Tennessee.... law establishes the following penalties: Those convicted of boating under the influence are subject to a fine up to $2,500 upon a first or second offense, and up to $5,000 for the third offense. In addition, those convicted of BUI may receive a jail sentence up to one year (with mandatory probation) and lose operating privileges for one to ten years. .... Federal penalties may also be charged. .... By operating a vessel on ....Tennessee.... waters, you have consented to a sobriety test if requested by a law enforcement officer. Refusal to be tested is a separate offense and may result in loss of operating privileges for up to six months..... More and more local and state law enforcement agencies, as well as the Coast Guard, have begun to more stringently enforce Boating While Intoxicated (BWI) or Boating Under the Influence (BUI) laws. In many states, a conviction for BWI or BUI will appear on your driving record. This means, that regardless of whether you're driving a water-borne vehicle or a land-based one, your insurance rates will go up and you will have points deducted from your license (for states that use the point system). You could even lose your license because Administrative Per Se laws may apply, which means your state's department of motor vehicle may suspend your license and driving privileges whether or not you've been convicted. Similar to other drunk driving offenses, a person is guilty of BWI or BUI when he or she drives or is in actual physical control of a water-borne vehicle (boat, ship, jet skis, or any other commercial or recreational watercraft) and is under the influence of alcoholic beverages or any chemical or controlled substance (including inhaled toxic substances like paint or glue) to the extent that his or her mental faculties are impaired or when his or her blood alcohol level (BAC) is above the legal limit for the state. This means that whether the boat is underway or anchored, if you are onboard and your BAC is above the state's legal limit, you could be arrested..... In some states, the legal limit for BWI or BUI is significantly less than that for land-borne vehicles. For example, in the state of ....Maine...., if your BAC is 0.04 or higher, you can be arrested for BWI. Most states have limits of around 0.08, but some are as high as 0.10. .. .. Contact Blake Kelley, Attorney at Law at [email protected] or 615.305.4539

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