In Colorado, it is a misdemeanor to operate or be in physical control of a boat while under the influence of alcohol or any controlled substance. If an officer suspects that you are boating under the influence, you will likely be ordered to submit a breath or blood sample for testing. A BAC of .08 or higher creates a presumption that you are under the influence and you will almost certainly face criminal charges.
Boating Under the Influence vs. Driving Under the Influence
A conviction for a first offense BUI is similar in many ways to a DUI conviction. If convicted, you will receive no less than five days in jail, and as much as one year. You will have fines between $200 and $1,000. You also must perform up to 96 hours of useful public service.
As with a first-time DUI, you may have the opportunity to have your sentence suspended if you complete an alcohol and drug driving safety education or treatment program. As part of the program, you are expected to abstain from using alcohol for one year following your sentencing. The court also has the power to sentence you to up to two years of probation for the purposes of receiving treatment.
One significant difference between BUI and DUI is that your driver’s license is not at risk in a BUI case. Instead of losing driving privileges, you will be barred from being on the water for three months or from operating a boat for a year. While that is not a small matter, it pales in comparison to the threat of a year spent in jail. Colorado courts do not consider boating drunk a laughing matter. Law enforcement officers have greatly stepped up efforts to catch and punish people suspected of operating a vessel under the influence in recent years. If you have been arrested, your future is in danger. You need an experienced BUI attorney on your side.
Another difference between DUI and BUI is the right of officers to stop and check you. Colorado law enforcement officials can stop your boat for almost anything. They frequently stop people to check that all safety equipment is present and functional. If they detect alcohol or drugs during these stops, they can order you to submit to a blood or breath test. In addition, if the owner of a boat allows a person who is intoxicated or under the influence of drugs to operate the boat, they can also be charged and convicted. You can’t simply turn over control of your boat to someone else to avoid a BUI.
Call On Us for Skilled Colorado BUI Defense
If you have been arrested for boating under the influence of alcohol or drugs, you need skilled representation to protect your rights. Whether you failed a breath or blood test or refused to take the test, you have options. You have the right to offer evidence that the test results were incorrect or that the evidence was gathered or handled improperly. If the prosecution is relying on other evidence to prove you were impaired, there are ways to attack that evidence.
The Denver BUI defense attorneys at Tiftickjian Law Firm, P.C. have extensive trial experience in cases involving operating under the influence. The firm has handled alcohol related criminal cases throughout the State of Colorado. We can quickly determine where the case against you is weakest and create a strategy to protect your rights.
A conviction for drunk boating is a serious matter. Call us at 303-991-5896 or contact us online to schedule a consultation with a knowledgeable BUI defense lawyer.