A lot of boating enthusiasts do not realize that a North Carolina police officer can arrest them for intoxicated boating, or boating under the influence (BUI), just like an officer can arrest them for intoxicated driving. In fact, the charges and potential penalties are essentially the same for intoxicated boating as they are for drunk driving.
In order to learn more about this common, yet often underappreciated, criminal offense. Let’s take a look at a few frequently asked questions about drunk boating.
Can a police officer pull me over while I’m operating my boat?
A common misconception boaters have when they’re on the water is that it’s very unlikely for a police officer to pull them over. Some boaters might even feel that it’s beyond an officer’s rights to enter a body of water and signal them to pull off to the side for questioning. However, if a state or federal law enforcement officer sees you driving your boat in a suspicious way — or if they have another valid reason — they can pull you over just like a vehicle driver. They can even perform field sobriety tests and a Breathalyzer exam.
Can I lose my license to operate my boat after a BUI?
It’s certainly possible that you could lose your boating license as a result of a BUI conviction. It’s also very possible that you could lose your vehicle driving license. It all depends on the facts and evidence surrounding your case.
How common are BUI convictions?
BUI convictions are very common in North Carolina and throughout the rest of the country. Not only that, but they should become even more common as the police officers have been ramping up patrols.
If you were accused of boating while intoxicated, you have the right to fight your criminal charges in court. Through a well-designed criminal defense, you might be able to lessen the severity of your punishments and/or reduce the chances that you will be convicted of the crime.
Source: FindLaw, “Boating Under the Influence (BUI) FAQs,” accessed Nov. 10, 2017