Articles Posted in Boating DUI

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IMG_7722-300x225As the weather warms up in San Diego, people enjoy the outdoors and get more active. Many flock to the bay, ocean, lakes and rivers to enjoy a day on the water, but be aware that law enforcement agencies are out in full force actively looking to cite people for boating under the influence, BUI’s.

In California, if you operate a motorized boat or any watercraft while under the influence, you can be arrested and charged with a crime. (Note: This code section only applies to motorized vessels, meaning that you cannot be charged under these code sections if your vessel is exclusively self or water propelled such as a kayak, rowboat, or a non-motorized sailboat. Also, there is a “zero tolerance” policy for anyone under the age of 21, meaning if you are underage, any measurable amount of alcohol can lead to BUI charges.)

The Harbors and Navigation Code provides the statutes for BUI. The language of the code is very close in the language in the California Vehicle Code for drunk driving, (see California Vehicle Code section 23152).

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IMG_7721The Law Offices of Susan L. Hartman recently wrote a blog article about biking or cycling under the influence.  Now that it’s almost summer, not only is it good to brush up on the biking laws, it is also good to do a quick refresher on boating under the influence.

If you head out to San Diego Bay, know that law enforcement will be out on the water and on the beach looking to enforce the laws, including the drunk boating statutes, (see California Harbors and Navigation Code Section 655).

This code section only applies to motorized vessels, meaning that you cannot be charged under these code sections if your vessel is exclusively self or water propelled such as a kayak, rowboat, or a non-motorized sailboat.

The language in Section 655 is very similar to the California Vehicle Code (VC) sections for drunk driving involving a motor vehicle. Section 655(b) specifically states, “No person shall operate any vessel or manipulate water skis, an aquaplane, or a similar device while under the influence of an alcoholic beverage, any drug, or the combined influence of an alcoholic beverage and any drug.” This is similar to the VC 23152(a). Continue reading →

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phone dump june 2014 121.jpgThe Law Offices of Susan L. Hartman recently wrote a blog article about biking or cycling under the influence, BUI and CUI respectively. Now that it’s summer, not only is it good to brush up on the biking after drinking laws, it is good to also do a quick refresher on another BUI, boating under the influence.

If you head out to the bay this summer, be mindful that law enforcement is also on the water and the beach and they are looking to enforce the laws. This includes drunk boating statutes which are found in the California Harbors and Navigation Code Section 655.

This code section only applies to motorized vessels, meaning that you cannot be charged under these code sections if your vessel is exclusively self or water propelled such as a kayak, rowboat, or a non-motorized sailboat.

The language in Section 655 of the Harbors and Navigation Code is very similar to the California Vehicle Code (VC) sections for drunk driving involving a motor vehicle. Section 655(b) specifically states, “No person shall operate any vessel or manipulate water skis, an aquaplane, or a similar device while under the influence of an alcoholic beverage, any drug, or the combined influence of an alcoholic beverage and any drug.” This is similar to the VC 23152(a).

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Drunk boating charges were recently brought against Erin Brockovich, an environmental activist whose life was the basis of the self-titled movie, according to examiner.com. She was boating on Lake Mead in Nevada and she caught law enforcement’s attention when she was struggling to dock her boat. After an investigation, she was arrested for OUI, or Operating Under the Influence, Nevada’s version of California’s DUI laws.

California also has drunk boating statutes which are found in the California Harbors and Navigation Code Section 655. The language used in the boating under the influence, or BUI, statutes is very similar to the drunk driving statutes, California Vehicle Code Section 23152(a) & (b). Section 655(b) is similar to the (a) count for DUI, and it specifically states, “No person shall operate any vessel or manipulate water skis, an aquaplane, or a similar device while under the influence of an alcoholic beverage, any drug, or the combined influence of an alcoholic beverage and any drug.”

California Harbors and Navigations Code Section 655(c) is similar to the (b) count for DUI, and it specifically states, “No person shall operate any recreational vessel or manipulate any water skis, aquaplane, or similar device if the person has an alcohol concentration of 0.08 percent or more in his or her blood.”

These code sections pertain to recreational vehicles; however, if a person is operating a commercial vehicle, the Harbors and Navigation Code 655(d) states, “No person shall operate any vessel other than a recreational vessel is the person has an alcohol concentration of 0.04 percent or more in his or her blood.”

If any injuries are involved, the boat operator can be charged with Section 655(f) of the Harbors and Navigation Code. This is similar to California Vehicle Code Section 23153 and it expressly states, “No person shall operate any vessel or manipulate water skis, an aquaplane, or a similar device while under the influence of an alcoholic beverage, any drug, or under the combined influence of an alcoholic beverage and any drug, and while so operating, do any act forbidden by law, or neglect any duty imposed by law in the use of the vessel, water skis, aquaplane, or similar device, which act or neglect proximately causes bodily injury to any person other than himself or herself.”

Open containers are allowed inside a boat and passengers and drivers can consume alcohol. It is only illegal to operate a boat while under the influence.

San Diego law enforcement are out in full force over the summer months ensuring our beaches and local waterways are safe. They will arrest those they believe are under the influence and operating a motorized boat. If you are arrested for BUI, you owe it to yourself to hire a criminal defense attorney who specifically handles DUI matters.

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In California, if you operate a motorized boat or any watercraft while under the influence in a lake, river, or the ocean, you can be arrested and charged with a crime.

The Harbors and Navigation Code provides the statutes for boating under the influence, or BUI. The language of the code is very close in the language in the California Vehicle Code for drunk driving, (see California Vehicle Code section 23152).
drinking and boating.jpgUnder the Harbors and Navigation Code section 655:

(b) No person shall operate any vessel or manipulate water skis, an aquaplane, or a similar device while under the influence of an alcoholic beverage, any drug, or the combined influence of an alcoholic beverage and any drug.

(c) No person shall operate any recreational vessel or manipulate any water skis, aquaplane, or similar device if the person has an alcohol concentration of 0.08 percent or more in his or her blood.

(d) No person shall operate any vessel other than a recreational vessel if the person has an alcohol concentration of 0.04 percent or more in his or her blood.

The code does not bar the operator of the boat or the passengers from drinking or having open containers inside the vessel. However, it is illegal to operate a motorized vessel or serve as a crew member while under the influence or alcohol, a drug, or the combination of both, (see Harbors and Navigation Code section 655.4(a)).

A BUI is priorable, which means if you are charged with another DUI or BUI within ten years of the first one, you will be subject to the consequences of a second offense, which are more severe than the punishment for the first.

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