Boating Under the Influence in California
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 DUI, except for the fact that operation occurs 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 state’s welcoming climate, there are nearly one million registered boats and watercraft in California. Having a glass of wine or a couple of beers while on a boat at Lake Castaic, Lake Elsinore or Pyramid Lake is a common practice of many 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 risk being arrested for BUI.
Even if you had only a few drinks – or even just one drink – if you are involved in an accident of any kind with a BAC over the limit, you could be charged with BUI. Unfortunately, in California if you are arrested for boating under the influence your ability or to operate a boat is not the only thing that will be affected. Your driver’s license could be suspended (even though you were not driving an automobile), you could be sent to jail and you will face fines, penalties and mandatory enrollment in an alcohol treatment program.
A conviction of boating under the influence will appear the same as a DUI on your California DMV record; therefore, it is crucial that you treat your arrest with the same level of seriousness as you would a drunk driving arrest. Not only is your driver’s license at stake in these circumstances, your insurance rates could be significantly raised and you could receive a mark on your permanent criminal record.
If you want to have the best chances of avoiding a criminal conviction, you will need to hire a 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 cases qualify for misdemeanor diversion and no criminal record for the accused! You have just ten days after your arrest to stop the automatic California DMV Administration Per Se Driver’s License Suspension action against you. That being said, you will need to act fast in order to contest the charges. Don’t wait another minute to contact a criminal defense attorney and begin the defense you need for your BUI charge.