When we think of DUI, we often only imagine the defendant behind the wheel of a car -- but did you know that boating under the influence is also a significant issue in California? Boaters who are accused of imbibing behind the wheel can benefit from DUI defense, just like those who are facing charges because they were operating a car or truck. Many of the same principles are used to convict or exonerate boaters who are accused of operating a vehicle while drunk. Here's what you need to know about BUI charges.
The Coast Guard and other state agencies have strict penalties for those convicted of BUI. In some instances, bodies of water are regulated by both federal and state governments, meaning that you could face charges in multiple courts of law. Boaters may be apprehended by either the Coast Guard or the analogous state enforcement authority. The Coast Guard is generally responsible for arresting and detaining the defendant, or they may turn the defendant over to state officials.
Many boaters forget that the boat they are operating is a vehicle. In fact, boaters are subject to the same types of field sobriety test requirements as those who are behind the wheel of a car. Further, the implications of a DUI arrest on a boat are just as serious as those in a car or truck. Authorities have the right to collect evidence, including the results of a breath test or blood test.
Although avoiding alcohol entirely is generally recommended for boaters, some still choose to imbibe. Even docking and enjoying a meal with a glass of wine can be a risk for a California boater. If you are facing BUI charges, you may benefit from the assistance of a criminal defense attorney. Choosing an experienced professional means you will get an attorney who understands the special implications associated with a boating-related charge.
Source: U.S. Coast Guard, "BUI Initiatives," accessed Jan. 12, 2017