Boating Under the Influence (BUI)
Boating under the influence (BUI) in California is a serious offense, one that can be as serious as Driving Under the Influence (DUI). Boating under the influence (BUI) is precisely what it sounds like. It is operating a watercraft when you are under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs. In a boating under the influence (BUI) case, watercrafts are considered anything that carries or transports people on water, including water skis. But things that are propelled by water alone, such as kayaks, are immune from boating under the influence (BUI) laws in California.
But if you’re thinking of your California boating under the influence (BUI) arrest as beatable, you may have a point. Such arrests are fraught with tricky legal angles. For starters, officers may board your boat for safety check reasons that have nothing to do with alcohol. It’s what happens while they’re on your boat that things may get interesting.
Keep in mind that it is legal to operate a watercraft in California if your blood-alcohol content is below .08%, but if an officer smells alcohol on your breath while he is there, he may use that as an invitation to initiate a field sobriety test for boating under the influence (BUI).
Now consider the state you may be in after hours of boating. Your eyes may be bloodshot from forgetting or not using your sunglasses. Your face may be red from sunburn. Your ability to stand and walk without wobbling may be challenged from water skiing and sitting in a rocking boat all day. In California or any other state, a law enforcement officer can mistake these signs you are displaying as boating under the influence (BUI).
When the officer takes you off the boat for a field sobriety test, he may not consider that you are having trouble walking because you haven’t been walking on steady ground all day. Even worse is the possibility that you’ll end up having your field sobriety test taken on an unsteady pier. After all that, he may mistakenly charge you with boating under the influence (BUI).
As you can see, there are so many confusing variables involved that even a seasoned law enforcement officer may mistake light drinking for boating under the influence (BUI). Your case may have some of these conditions, or any of the many others that lead to unwarranted boating under the influence (BUI) arrests. It is best to talk to a qualified BUI attorney to find out how the particulars of California boating under the influence (BUI) law can be used in your defense.