Maryland BUI – Boating Under the Influence
Boating in Maryland is a very enjoyable recreational activity, but a weekend of fun in the sun can turn into a disaster if you are arrested for operating your boat under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Law enforcement agencies patrol the water just as others patrol the roads, and if they suspect that you are operating under the influence (OUI), you will be subject to sobriety tests and/or a breathalyzer test, just like you would if you were on the road. So, if you have been arrested for boating under the influence of alcohol or drugs, do the same consequences as a regular DUI apply? An arrest for boating under the influence (BUI) can be very confusing, and so there may be a variety of questions running through your head.
Can I lose my boat registration? Can I lose my boating privileges? Can an OUI conviction still send me to jail? How can a law enforcement officer know that I’m impaired if I’m tested on a moving surface? What happens if I caused an accident?
These questions and many more can drive an accused BUI operator crazy, preventing them from taking the necessary steps to protect their legal rights. If you have been accused of operating a boat while under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs in Maryland, before you get overwhelmed with questions, contact an experienced DUI defense attorney in Maryland at Alpert Schreyer Poe, LLC. We can address your concerns and help to protect you against unjust prosecution.
Operating Under the Influence Laws
BUI is a crime. Under Maryland Natural Resources Code Annotated § 8-738, it is illegal for any person to operate or attempt to operate a vessel while:
- Under the influence of alcohol;
- Impaired by alcohol;
- So far impaired by any drug, combination of drugs, or
- combination of drugs and alcohol that they cannot safety operate the vessel; or
- Impaired by any controlled substance, unless entitled to use such substance under MD law.
Like the Implied Consent Law for suspected DUI vehicle operators, boat operators also inherently give their consent to alcohol and/or drug testing by operating or attempting to operate their vessel on Maryland waters. Refusing these tests carries consequences which includes the possible loss of your privilege to operate a boat for a period of 1 year.
If a person is convicted of operating their vessel under the influence of alcohol, they are guilty of a misdemeanor and are subject to imprisonment of one year and/or a maximum fine of $1,000 for a first offense. For a second offense, the penalties increase to a maximum two years imprisonment and/or a maximum $2,000. The penalties increase, yet again, for a third or subsequent offense to a maximum three years imprisonment and/or a maximum $3,000 fine. The court may also prohibit a convicted offender from operating a vessel on Maryland waters for a maximum of one year.
For offenses 2 through 4 above, the penalties vary. For a first offense, a convicted offender would be subject to a maximum imprisonment of two months and/or a maximum fine of $500. For second or subsequent offenses, the penalties increase to a maximum imprisonment of one year and/or a maximum fine of $1,000.
Aggressive Legal Representation
Boating under the influence, like driving under the influence, has the power to jeopardize your personal, professional, and financial future. At Alpert Schreyer Poe, our knowledgeable Maryland boating under the influence defense attorneys have the skills and resources necessary to build a strong defense against overzealous prosecutors.