DUI on a Boat in Maryland

Everyone knows it’s illegal to drive a car drunk, but many people seem to forget about this rule when operating a boat. Some states do not have expressed laws making impaired boating illegal. However, Maryland does. The operator of a watercraft in Maryland can be charged with DUI just the same as when driving a car. In fact, boating DUI’s are serious crimes in Maryland, and they carry steep penalties.

If you’ve been charged with operating a boat or other watercraft while under the influence of alcohol or some other substance (drugs, prescription medications, etc.), you need aggressive legal representation today.

What is a DUI on a Boat?

In the State of Maryland, you can get arrested for DUI under the same basic rules as a typical automotive DUI. Technically, the crime is actually called BUI (or “Boating Under the Influence”). There is a different statute that applies, known as the State Boat Act. The law almost mirrors the general DUI statute that applies to vehicles on roadways, with only minor variations.

If you are operating a watercraft, your blood alcohol content (BAC) must be below 0.08%. Otherwise, you can be charged.

What Types of Vehicles Count as Boats?

A Boating While Under the Influence (BUI) charge can be brought against you for operating any of the following under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or any combination thereof:

  • Personal watercrafts
  • Jet skis
  • Boats
  • Passenger vessels
  • Any other motorized watercraft
What Type of Impairment is Prohibited?

You cannot operate a motorized watercraft under any of the following conditions:

  • Under the influence of alcohol (0.08% BAC or higher)
  • While impaired by drugs (less than 0.08% BAC, but still impaired, as shown by other evidence)
  • While impaired by a combination of drugs and alcohol
  • While impaired by any controlled substance, including prescription medications

Who Makes Boating Under the Influence Arrests in Maryland?

On the waterways, there are different types of law enforcement agencies that enforce the law. Arrests may be made by:

  • Natural Resources Police
  • Maryland State Police
  • Local or County Marine Patrol Units
Penalties for Boating Under the Influence

If you get convicted of operating a boat while drunk, you could face as much as a year in prison, or more if you’re a repeat offender. You could also lose the right to operate a watercraft in Maryland waters for as long as a year. In general, here are some of the penalties you could face:

  • First Offense: Up to 1 year in jail
  • Second Offense: Up to 2 years in jail
  • Third Offenses: Up to 3 years in jail

If you weren’t “under the influence,” but were rather just “impaired,” you could face up to 2 months in jail for a first offense and up to a year for each subsequence offense.

How Can an Experienced DUI Lawyer Help?

If you’re facing a criminal charge for operating a boat while under the influence of drugs or alcohol in Maryland, you need to talk to an experienced criminal defense lawyer today. The longer you wait, the more likely you will face steep penalties or make a critical error when dealing with police and prosecutors, which could lead to even worse charges being brought against you. Don’t take chances with your rights; call the Law Offices of Todd K. Mohink, P.A. today to schedule a consultation with an experienced DUI/BUI lawyer.



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