You have probably heard of DUI, but you may have never heard of BUI (boating under the influence). There are approximately 17 million boats that are currently being used in the U.S. Unfortunately, every year there are thousands of boating accidents, many of which involve serious injury or death. A third of these accidents are caused by boaters who are under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs.
Boating under the influence is against the law in Michigan. The legal blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit is .10 percent or above. If a boat operator has a BAC over the legal limit, he or she may be charged with BUI. Due to Michigan's Zero Tolerance laws, the legal limit for a boat operator under the age of 21 is .02 percent.
BUI is not limited to boats --- it is unlawful to operate a personal watercraft, such as jet skis, if you are under the influence.
The penalties for boating under the influence are similar to DUI/OWI. If convicted of BUI, you may be sentenced to jail time, fines, and revocation of operator privileges.
The problem with BUI is that many people do not realize how dangerous it is. Because boating is seen as a social event, most people think nothing of carrying a supply of alcohol with them when they head out on the water, although they would never do this when driving a vehicle. If you take into account that most people operate a boat more infrequently than a car, you can see that drinking and boating is a potential recipe for disaster.
Being on the water also affects an operator's impairment more than driving a car. The factors that can lead to increased impairment include: the motion of the boat, wind, sun, engine noise, water spray, vibration. These circumstances may all lead to fatigue, which affects reaction time, judgment, and coordination.
If you have recently been charged with Michigan BUI, contact The Law Offices of Patrick T. Barone. The attorneys at this firm are known for their experience, knowledge, and for winning cases.