Forget Drinking and Driving: Penalties for Boating Under the Influence
Driving while intoxicated (DWI) offenses are mostly associated with driving automobiles under the influence of alcohol, but the law doesn’t stop there. It can also be applied to those who drive boats and other aquatic vehicles throughout the waterways of New Jersey.
Otherwise known as boating while intoxicated (BWI) or boating under influence (BUI), this act is just as dangerous as a drunk driver taking to the streets. A boat operator under the influence of alcohol (or other substances) is not only endangering themselves but also the lives of all those who are on the water at the time.
According to New Jersey’s drunk boating statute (N.J.S.A. 12:7-46), someone who is operating a boat is held to the same standards as someone driving an automobile. This law is only aimed at boats or vessels that are equipped or temporality equipped with machinery for propulsion or are 12 feet or greater in length.
It is the duty of the New Jersey State Police Marine Service Bureau and the U.S. Coast Guard to police the waterways around the Garden State. If law enforcement stops you on the water for the suspicion of a BWI or BUI, you must submit to the same type of field sobriety tests as someone who’s suspected of drinking and driving an automobile, such as a Breathalyzer test.
The similarities don’t stop there. You are obligated under the law of implied consent to submit to all field sobriety tests if asked to do so by law enforcement. Failing to take the test(s) will result in a refusal charge. This, however, won’t alter the fact that you still are faced with a BWI or BUI charge.
To keep up with the similarities between drinking and driving and boating and driving, the penalties are also comparable. The first offense of BWI/BUI with a BAC that is .08% to .09% can result in the suspension of a boating license for one year and the loss of driving privileges for three months. In addition, the offender will also receive a fine between $250 and $400 and have to pay a $1,000 surcharge per year for three years.
We are just getting started. The first offense with a BAC over .10% can result in the suspension of a boating license for one year and the loss of driving privileges for seven months to one year. The fines will be between $300 and $500, along with the same surcharges from the lower-tier offense.
A second offense of boating under the influence (that takes places with ten years of the first offense) can result in both boating and driver’s licenses being suspended for two years. Fines will be between $500 and $1,000, along with the similar surcharges from above. Jail time can also occur as a result, ranging from two to ninety days with thirty days of community service.
Subsequent offenses of BWI/BUI can result in $1,000 or more in fines, along with 180 days in jail and up to ninety days of community service. Both boating and driver’s licenses will be suspended for ten years.
Here’s the Bottom Line…
Don’t drink and boat! It’s not worth it. If you are convicted of a BWI/BUI, you are going to need an experienced attorney on your side. Contact the Law Offices of Anthony Carbone for a free consultation. We are one call or click away.