For some, the whole point of boating is to be able to relax on the water with a cold beverage. People tend to forget that New England has some very strict laws when it comes to boating under the influence or boating while intoxicated (BUI/BWI). At Hansen Law Offices, PLLC, I have helped many clients through BUI charges, and I am a former prosecutor who knows how the government will approach the case. Below are three things New Englanders should know about BUIs.
Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) For Driving A Boat Is The Same As Driving A Car
You may think the laws are more relaxed for boaters, but you would be wrong. In New Hampshire, Maine and Massachusetts, the BAC for boating is .08 percent, the same as it is for an OUI/DUI. In addition, the type of boat you operate generally does not matter. It could be anything from a canoe to a yacht, although commercial vessels generally have separate or stiffer regulations.
You Could Lose Your Driver's License And Boat Registration
You may not think your actions on your boat could affect your driver's license, but it can. In New Hampshire, Maine, and Massachusetts, a BUI can lead to revocation of your driver's license, as well as your boat registration. You should pursue help from an experienced lawyer to protect your rights.
You Can Face Jail Time And Hefty Fines
A first offense in Massachusetts carries a possible 30-month sentence and a fine of $1,000. If you injure someone in a boating accident, that sentence can increase up to 10 years. In New Hampshire, aggravated BWI also carries increased penalties. A first offense in Maine carries a jail sentence of up to one year and fines ranging from $400 to $2,000, and if your BAC is .15 percent or higher, you face a mandatory 48-hour jail sentence.