Recently, not only has law enforcement significantly increased their efforts to remove impaired drivers from the roadways; its efforts have increasingly extended to intoxicated boaters on the waterways.
Consequently, those attorneys who have chosen to defend persons accused of driving a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs, must understand and prepare themselves with the tools necessary to defend those persons accused of operating a watercraft while under the influence.
This is especially true in many Puget Sound and Eastern Washington counties where boating is extremely popular.
While driving a car after consuming alcohol is increasingly criticized by society, boating and drinking are not only socially acceptable but socially encouraged. Boating is a leisure activity. It is traditionally enjoyed in Washington State. The use of alcohol is traditionally part of the social aspect within this activity.
Like DUI, there are different means of committing the crime of Operation of a Vessel While Under the Influence of Intoxicating Liquor (BUI). The operator of a boat vessel is presumed to be under the influence of intoxicating liquor or any drug if:
(a) The person has 0.08 percent of more by weight of alcohol in the person's breath, as shown by analysis of the person's breath made under RCW 46.61.506; or
(b) The person has 0.08 percent of more by weight of alcohol in the person's blood, as shown by analysis of the person's breath made under RCW 46.61.506; or
(c) The person is under the influence of or affected by intoxicating liquor or any drug; or
(d) The person is under the combined influence of or affected by intoxicating liquor and any drug.
BUI Versus DUI: The Nitty Gritty
While it would appear the BUls are just like DUIs, but only on the water, in actuality, there are several differences.