Police are vigilant in spotting boat drivers on rivers and lakes who are operating their watercraft under the influence of alcohol. A BUI differs significantly from a DUI, which is why you need to retain an attorney who understands these charges and knows how to navigate your case. If you are boarded and arrested by police for BUI, call a Santa Rosa BUI lawyer from our firm immediately!

We have been listed among the “Top 10 DUI Lawyers” by the National Association of DUI Defense Lawyers and frequently lecture at legal seminars for DUI law and practice. We can use our DUI defense experience and background to fight aggressively for your defense if you are accused of any BUI offense.

California Boating Laws Covering BUI

With so many rivers, lakes, bays, estuaries and the beautiful Pacific Ocean as our coast, boating is a popular recreational activity in Northern California. The problem is many people aren’t aware of the laws that govern the waterways. Boating under the influence is criminalized under California Harbors and Navigation Code 655.

Under this section, there are several laws that regulate boating and drinking:

-Operating a vessel while under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs is a misdemeanor and could carry a penalty of one year in the county jail, or a fine not to exceed $1,000, or both.

-Operating a vessel under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs and causing injury to another person may be ruled a felony by the courts and could carry a penalty of one year in prison and a fine of up to $5,000.

-Operating a vessel under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs and causing death to another person is a felony and could carry a penalty of up to 10 years in prison.

-A person arrested for operating a motorboat under the influence may be requested to take a blood or breath test to determine blood alcohol concentration (BAC). Refusal to take the test may result in increased penalties (fine, or jail, or both) if convicted. A BAC of .08% presumes intoxication, a BAC of .05% but less than .08% may be used with other evidence to determine intoxication.

-A person under 21 with a BAC of .01% or more may not operate any motorized vessel, or maneuver water skis, an aquaplane, or similar device.

-Previous alcohol- or drug-related convictions of vehicle and vessel operators can be used to enhance penalties for persons convicted of subsequent vehicle or vessel violations.

-A person convicted of operating a vessel under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs must be ordered by the court to take and pass a boating safety course.

If you are convicted of operating a vessel while intoxicated, the California Department of Motor Vehicles may suspend or revoke your vehicle driver’s license for a period of 6 months to 5 years, depending upon the number and type of vehicle and/or vessel violations accumulated.

An Aggressive Defense Against BUI Charges in Northern California

If you’ve been charged with BUI, the knowledgeable BUI attorneys at Fiumara & Milligan Law, PC will fight for your rights, defend your good reputation and keep you out of jail.

Defense against a charge of operating a boat under the influence requires an understanding of the complex laws and evidence in such a case. Different factors can affect a boat operator’s physical and mental abilities while on the water. These include heat, sun, noise, wind, glare, and the motion of a boat on the water for a long period of time.

It’s best to hire an attorney who specializes in BUI and DUI law in California. An experienced defense attorney can walk you through your options and help you plan for the best strategy in court.

Contact our firm so we can get your BUI defense case in motion today! Please call our office at (707) 571-8600 in our centrally located Santa Rosa office in Sonoma County or call our office in San Rafael in Marin County at (415) 492-4507 to schedule a free and confidential case evaluation.