Heading out on the water with a few friends, the summer sun, and a few beers is a beloved pastime for many Marylanders. However, you may want to leave the beers to the passengers, because Boating Under the Influence can carry serious consequences.
What is Boating Under the Influence?
Like a DUI, a BUI in Maryland is a criminal charge for operating a vehicle, or in this case, a vessel, under the influence of alcohol or another mind-altering substance. Under Maryland law, it is illegal for anyone to operate a vessel under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
Much in the same way you can get pulled over by the police while driving a car, the same thing can happen while operating a boat. In fact, the US Coast Guard or MD Natural Resources Police Department can pull you over and search your boat at any time. Operating a boat on Maryland waters is implied consent for searches and for alcohol/drug testing.
What if it’s a Sailboat?
It’s easy to see why motor boats may be considered “motor vehicles”, but a sailboat is a different story, right? Wrong. You can still get a BUI for operating a sailboat under the influence. In fact, you can still get a BUI for operating a canoe. If it’s a vehicle, you can be penalized for operating it while drunk or high on drugs. Period.
After all, the dangers of a drifting vessel are similar whether it’s powered by a motor or the wind. The reason for the BUI is based in the danger you are to yourself and others more so than the specific nature of the vehicle.
The Dangers of The Sea are Serious
Though heading out on the water is a lot of fun, there are many dangers as well. These dangers become infinitely more dangerous when you involve drugs and alcohol. Even if you’re docked, you should still be careful when mixing alcohol with boating.
Currents can be unpredictable and can pull you under when you’re not expecting it. This can happen even when you’re sober, but can be much worse when you’re drunk.
Worried about a BUI in Maryland?
Are you facing charges from a BUI in Maryland? The Law Office of Ross W. Albers can help you. He has the experience that you need on your side to ensure that your life isn’t turned completely upside down. Similarly, if you’ve been in a boating accident, we can help with that as well.