Aggressive Defense for Boating Under the Influence Charges
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 they do the roads, and if they suspect that you are operating under the influence (OUI), you will be subject to field sobriety tests and/or a breathalyzer test or blood test, just like you would if you were on the road.
Questions You May Have About Your BUI
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 a BUI 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 be overwhelming to anyone arrested for BUI, 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 attorney from 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;
- 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 one year.
BUI vs. BWI Charges
In Maryland, there is a distinction between boating under the influence of drugs or alcohol and operating a vessel while impaired by drugs or alcohol (BWI).
- Boating Under the Influence (BUI): While there is no legal definition for BUI, the court general considers a BAC of .08% or more to be "under the influence".
- Boating While Impaired (BWI): A BUI charge may be increase to BWI where the boat operator is so far impaired with drugs or alcohol that they are not able to operate their vessel safely.
Penalties for BUI and BWI
Boating Under the Influence
- 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 of two years imprisonment and/or a maximum $2,000 fine.
- For a third or subsequent offense, the penalties increase 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.
Boating While Impaired
- 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.