San Diego, California is a water lover’s dream destination. San Diego is a boaters paradise and offers boaters a wide variety of options for spending the day on the water. Be careful though that your perfect day on the water doesn’t turn into an expensive, and embarrassing, nightmare by getting arrested for boating under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
People frequently have the same attitude about boating and alcohol that people had about drinking and driving a few decades ago – they don’t see the harm and they assume the laws are not really enforced. Both of those assumptions are wrong in San Diego. According to the State of California, Department of Boating and Waterways, or DBW, a boater’s ability to operate a boat is impaired when the operator has a blood alcohol content, or BAC, level, or about 0.035 percent. Moreover, the effects of alcohol can be more pronounced when on the water than they are on land. Factors such as the sway of the boat, the glare of the sun, vibration, and wind all contribute to an intensified effect when a boater consumes alcohol on the water.
Boating under the influence is a criminal offense in the city of San Diego. Although San Diego does not have an open container law, meaning it is legal to drink while on the boat, it is a crime to operate a boat (or other water vessel) while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. If you are an avid, or just occasional, boater in San Diego you should know the following:
- Operating a boat while under the influence, or BUI, of drugs or alcohol is a misdemeanor offense in San Diego.
- You face up to a year in jail and up to a $1,000 fine if convicted of BUI.
- If you are convicted of CUI and you caused injury it could be a felony charge which exposes you to the possibility of a much longer prison sentence and a higher fine.
- If you are arrested for BUI you can be asked to submit to a breathalyzer just as in a DUI arrest on land.
- A BUI conviction could result in the suspension of your driving privileges and could serve to enhance a future DUI or BUI.
If you have been charged with boating under the influence in San Diego the charge should be taken seriously by contacting an experienced San Diego criminal defense attorney right away.