In the state of Washington, it’s illegal to operate a boat or paddlecraft while under the influence of alcohol or marijuana. Boating under the influence is a gross misdemeanor and can result in fines or jail time. If you have been charged with boating under the influence, it is recommended that you retain an attorney with experience and knowledge in order to best represent your interests; like Roger Priest at VanWa Legal.
Why Altering Substances Don’t Mix With Boating
When you go out on the water, you’re at an increased risk for accidents while under the influence. Studies have shown that while operating a boat, or other vessel, one standard drink of alcohol that you have on land has the intoxicating equivalent of 3 standard drinks when you’re on the water. The US Coast Guard states that boating while intoxicated is the number one factor for fatal recreational boating accidents. This also applies to things other than traditional boats such as: canoes, stand-up paddleboards, rowboats, kayaks, and even inflatable rafts.
Boating Under the Influence Penalties
- If you’re planning to go out boating or have been charged with boating under the influence, there are a number of legal factors you should consider.
- While boating, state law allows for law enforcement to require a breath or blood test if you are suspected of being intoxicated. If you choose to not submit to that test, you will be charged with a civil infraction with a maximum fine of $2050.
- If the police charge you with this gross misdemeanor, the maximum penalty that you can face is $5,000 and 364 days in jail.
- A BUI also counts as a prior offense in the event you are ever arrested for also called driving under the influence (DUI), also called driving while intoxicated (DWI).
What to Do if You Have Been Charged
Your first step if you’ve been charged with boating under the influence is to contact an attorney that handles these cases. A lawyer can walk you through the process that’s ahead, as well as explain the specifics related to your case. If you have been arrested and charged with a BUI you should consider contacting Roger Priest at VanWa legal for a consultation on your case.