A first offense of boating under the influence is charged as a misdemeanor, punishable by:
- Incarceration in county jail for a maximum of 6 months, and/or
- Fines up to $1,000
If your BUI incident caused another person to suffer serious bodily harm or be killed, you will be charged with a category B felony, punishable by:
- Incarceration in state prison for 2 to 20 years
- Fines between $2,000 and $5,000
Fighting BUI Charges
If the officer saw your boat from far across the water, it’s very possible that they were unable to see exactly who was behind the wheel. The officer could have mistaken you for the driver, when it was actually another passenger. The long distance, glare on the water, and fact that the boat was moving could all make it difficult to accurately identify the driver.
Field sobriety tests can be difficult to perform on solid ground, and passing these tests on an unsteady boat is nearly impossible. Spending hours on the water in the heat can also impact your balance and coordination, especially if you are dehydrated. The officer could have incorrectly interpreted the effects of a long day on the water – such as blood shot eyes, shaking arms and legs, and slight disorientation – as signs of intoxication.
In order to achieve an accurate BAC reading, breath machines must be routinely maintained and properly calibrated. If the Breathalyzer used on you was defective or incorrectly calibrated, your test results could be inaccurate. Likewise, if the officer incorrectly administered the breath test, the machine may not have gotten a true measurement of your BAC.