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The legal team at Zarabi Law

Boating Under the Influence in California Laws and Defenses

On Behalf of | Nov 20, 2020 | Criminal Defense

In California, it is illegal to operate boats under the influence of alcohol, illicit drugs, and controlled substances (BUI). The vessels can be:

  • Sailboats
  • Yachts
  • Jet skis
  • Boats
  • Water skis

Although it may seem different from DUI (driving under the influence), these charges are just as serious, especially if it involves tourist boats, ferries, or any commercial vessel. The BAC (blood alcohol concentration) required to be charged is 0.04, but in the case of recreational boats, it is 0.08. You are not guilty if, after ingesting several drinks, you have a BAC of 0.05, and you can still handle the boat without problems and without losing the ability to ensure others’ safety. The exception is if your BAC is 0.08 as required by law—even if you are aware and driving with the proper precautions. Some of the defenses used for BUI cases are as follows:

  • Tiredness or other factors that affected your physical appearance, giving the impression that you were under the influence.
  • The boat’s erratic course is due to severe sea conditions and not to the effects of alcohol.
  • The breath test returned a false positive or was inconclusive.
  • Health problems such as dehydration interfered with your performance on the field sobriety test.
  • You were detained without sufficient reason or suspicion.

Keep in mind that a BUI conviction can land you in prison for up to 1 year. In some instances, it may also include the payment of a fine of up to $1,000. Proving your innocence is complicated due to the amount of evidence and statements needed to support your version of events. The last thing you want to do is go through the process without the assistance of an attorney capable of negotiating with the judge and dismissing the charges. If you are facing BUI charges in California, contact us today. We are a specialized DUI and BUI law firm with a proven track record of satisfied clients achieving favorable results. We will fight for your second chance.