Boating while under the influence of alcohol or other drugs can be just as dangerous as operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated. As such, Alabama law imposes DUI penalties on boaters, just as they impose DUI penalties on drivers of vehicles. A boating DUI can result in jail time, fines and other penalties just like those penalties for a DUI; however a boating DUI is often called a "BUI."
If you are facing BUI charges, it is very important to contact an experienced Alabama DUI lawyer. At the Eversole Law Office, our Birmingham DUI attorneys have helped many clients throughout Jefferson, Madison and Shelby Counties and throughout Alabama who are accused of BUI. We can put our legal experience to work to explore defenses to avoid conviction or to arrange a plea bargain to minimize the penalties you face. To learn more, contact us today to schedule a free consultation at (866) 831-5292.
Alabama Boating DUI
Outdoor Alabama, a website of the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, has provided a summary of boating rules and regulations that apply in Alabama. According to the boating rules and regulations set forth on their website, the law stipulates that "No person shall drive or be in actual physical control of a vessel or manipulate any water skis, aquaplane, or any other marine transportation device" while:
- They have a blood alcohol content of .08 percent or higher.
- They are under the influence of alcohol or any controlled substance, or a combination of alcohol and controlled substances.
- They are under the influence of any substance that impairs physical or mental abilities.
This means that even if your BAC is technically below the legal limit of .08, you could still be charged with a BUI if you are impaired in a manner that makes operating your boat unsafe. It is also important to be aware that if you are stopped by maritime law enforcement or the Coast Guard and asked to submit to a BAC test, you are required to do so as obtaining a license or operating a vehicle in Alabama means you give implied consent to having your blood alcohol checked when there is reasonable cause to believe you are intoxicated.
Alabama has been cracking down on boating DUIs in recent years, as evidenced by their participation in Operation Dry Water, a summertime event intended to raise awareness of BUI. During Operation Dry Water, marine law enforcement agents patrol the waterways during the weekend prior to Independence Day in order to catch those who are boating while intoxicated and to alert people to the enforcement of BUI rules. With the new law enforcement effort to catch those who are driving drunk, many more people are at risk for a BUI arrest.
If you are one of those individuals who is accused of boating under the influence, you have legal options. You can negotiate a plea bargain in some cases to minimize the criminal sanctions you face, and you may be able to enter into a diversion program if you are a first offender. A better option in many cases, however, might involve defending yourself against a BUI by raising defenses including lack of probable cause to conduct a search or problems with the breath test that was administered to you. Getting the help of an experienced Birmingham DUI lawyer is important if you wish to attempt to avoid conviction for a boating DUI.
At the Eversole Law Office, we have been able to successfully help many clients to raise defenses in a BUI case in order to get charges dropped or to win a not-guilty verdict. The sooner we take a case, the sooner we can begin to work with you to build evidence for a BUI defense or to negotiate a plea bargain. That's why it's important to contact Steven Eversole as soon as you know you'll face boating DUI charges in Alabama. You can call us toll-free, fill out our confidential online case evaluation form or visit our office in downtown Birmingham.