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We are a Bellingham Law Firm with more than 50 years of combined experience in criminal law and Western Washington Courtrooms. We offer free consultations, reasonable fees and low retainers. Contact our Whatcom County BUI lawyers if you have been arrested for boating under the influence.
There are no mandatory criminal penalties in court should you refuse to provide a breath sample (there may be a civil fine)- unless the Coast Guard is involved, then a refusal will be presumptive proof of BUI.
Although a BUI is serious and has the possibility of Jail time, a conviction for boating under the influence will not suspend a driver's license.
A BUI investigation is not entirely different that a DUI investigation and may involve the use of field sobriety tests. However, the administration of these tests on water has certain challenges.
Boating under the influence can occur in any type of boat, including motor boats, canoes, row boats and small inflatable boats. A Whatcom County BUI is a gross misdemeanor with a maximum penalty of 364 days in Jail and a $5,000 fine.
A BUI that involves investigation and processing by the United States Coast Guard will result in a larger fine and potentially more significant penalties. For questions regarding a BUI contact our Whatcom County lawyers today.
Washington State has recognized the seriousness of boating under the influence and in recent years has amended the laws to reflect this change of attitude. The crime of BUI in Whatcom County is now classified as a gross misdemeanor and therefore has maximum penalties of 364 days of jail and a $1,000.00 fine. If convicted of BUI in Whatcom County there will be no driver license suspension but it is entirely possible that the Court will impose jail time.
An investigation for BUI in Whatcom County is similar to a DUI investigation and involves the law enforcement officer making observations of the individual including the possibility of slurred speech, diminished motor skills, and a change in demeanor. Further, the officer is permitted to conduct certain field sobriety tests, although performing such tests on a boat on a body of water is not an ideal location and may be properly defended by an experienced and knowledgeable Whatcom County BUI defense attorney. The Washington State Legislature has also recently amended the BUI statute to reflect that it is mandatory for a boater to provide a breath sample and that if it is refused, law enforcement may seek a search warrant for the boater's blood. However, unlike a DUI in Whatcom County when a refusal of the breath test may result in very severe driver license sanctions, a refusal of the BAC in a BUI case has a maximum penalty of a $1,000 civil infraction.
Operation of vessel in a reckless manner — Operation of a vessel under the influence of intoxicating liquor, marijuana, or any drug — Consent to breath or blood test
(1) It is unlawful for any person to operate a vessel in a reckless manner.
(2) It is unlawful for a person to operate a vessel while under the influence of intoxicating liquor, marijuana, or any drug. A person is considered to be under the influence of intoxicating liquor, marijuana, or any drug if, within two hours of operating a vessel:
(a) The person has an alcohol concentration of 0.08 or higher as shown by analysis of the person's breath or blood made under RCW 46.61.506; or
(b) The person has a THC concentration of 5.00 or higher as shown by analysis of the person's blood made under RCW 46.61.506; or
(c) The person is under the influence of or affected by intoxicating liquor, marijuana, or any drug; or
(d) The person is under the combined influence of or affected by intoxicating liquor, marijuana, and any drug.
(6) A violation of subsection (1) of this section is a misdemeanor. A violation of subsection (2) of this section is a gross misdemeanor. In addition to the statutory penalties imposed, the court may order the defendant to pay restitution for any damages or injuries resulting from the offense.
Contact our Whatcom County BUI Defense attorneys if you have been arrested and are facing court.