Oklahoma's Oldest DUI Defense Firm

Attorneys Stephen G. Fabian Jr. and Brian P. Young

The dangers of boating under the influence

On Behalf of | May 25, 2023 | BUI - boating under the influence |

Most people understand that driving under the influence (DUI) is a crime. Still, they usually only think about cars or motorized vehicles on the road. Fewer people know Oklahoma’s “BUI” law, which stands for boating under the influence.

With summer around the corner, it is essential to understand the law in this area, especially if you’re planning on boating. Oklahoma prohibits a boat operator from boating with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 or more.

The operator must be aboard the boat, and their BAC must be over 0.08. Oklahoma police say this extends to operators drinking on shore if they have immediate access to the operating boat. It does not make a difference whether the vessel is secure or at the dock.

What happens if police suspect a boat operator is boating under the influence?

Like DUIs, the police will ask the boat operator to take a BAC test via a breathalyzer. If the individual refuses to take the test, they may be penalized. Boaters convicted of a BUI face a misdemeanor on their criminal record and fines. Fines increase if it is the second or third time an individual has faced BUI charges.

What type of vessel does this law apply to?

The BUI law covers boats, ships, and personal watercraft, excluding canoes and paddle boats.

Will the prosecution suspend my driving privileges if I get a BUI?

Usually, the answer is no. Currently, a BUI does not impact your driving privileges. However, it is critical to understand that if you are boating under the influence and injure or kill someone in an accident because of your BUI, you could face negligent homicide or manslaughter charges.

Boating under the influence is never a good idea, and boating operators must know and understand the law regarding boating under the influence of alcohol or any other controlled substance.