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DUI Laws and Boating

Most individuals are aware that operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol can result in a driving under the influence charge (DUI), but these laws also apply to boats. Under California Harbors & Navigation Code 655, boat operators can face significant charges for operating any boat and using alcohol, or a BUI. Given the risk for a passenger or other boaters suffering a serious injury, our courts can bring swift punishments down upon defendants and impose hefty bail prices to be released during a trial.

If your loved one was charged with a BUI and you need to post bail, please reach out to our agents at Balboa Bail Bonds immediately. We have years of experience getting defendants released for serious DUI charges and can act fast to get your loved one home to you. We have an in-depth knowledge of the local courts in San Diego, Riverside, and Orange County, and we will use our expertise to explain your and your loved one’s rights. Call us at (619) 760-2222 to get fast, affordable bail today.

What Is a BUI?

A BUI is a charge under California Harbors & Navigation Code 655, which makes it illegal for any boat operator to use drugs or alcohol while operating a vessel. Unlike a DUI, which has a legal limit of at least 0.08%, a BUI can occur when a boater has a BAC of at least 0.04%. California courts perceive boating as a more complicated and difficult task, which is why the legal limits for alcohol are so much lower. However, this only applies to non-recreational vessels, and the BAC limit for vessels like water skis and aquaplanes are 0.08%.

Consequences of a BUI

If someone is charged with a BUI, the defendant will face many of the same punishments as a DUI. BUIs are typically misdemeanors in California for first-time offenders, but the penalties will increase with each conviction on a defendant’s record within seven years. These prior convictions do not have to involve boats, however, and can apply if a defendant has a DUI on his or her record.

This charge can become a felony if a defendant is accused of injuring someone while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Similar to a DUI with injury charge, this can include boating collisions with other vessels that result in injuries to other boaters, as well as injuries to individuals on the vessel. If there are any children aboard the defendant’s vessel, it may also lead to a child endangerment charge.

On its own, a misdemeanor BUI can result in up to six months to one year in county jail and/or a $1,000 fine. Unlike a DUI, a defendant will not face a license suspension, but can be restricted from operating a boat for up to one year. If a defendant’s charge involves an injury, it can lead to a felony sentence of 16 months, two years, or three years in state prison. The charge is also further enhanced if someone dies during a collision.

Posting Bail for a BUI

Facing a BUI charge can have a significant impact on your loved one’s future and family, which is why getting them back home where they can work with a skilled attorney is so important. The amount of money you will have to pay will vary depending on your county and court proceedings. While some judges are reevaluating first-time DUI offenses and bail, a judge can still choose to require thousands of dollars in bail to get a loved one released for a BUI. With first-time offenses, bail for a BUI is set at $1,600 in San Diego County and as high as $5,000 if a defendant has a prior.

Few people have this kind of money available to post bail, but that is where our team at Balboa Bail Bonds can help. We offer affordable, fast bail for defendants and their families in San Diego, Riverside, and Orange County. If you need bail posted for a BUI, our experienced agents can act fast to get your loved one released. We understand the local courts, and each of our agents has at least five years of experience. We know you are worried about money, which is why we will work with you to create an affordable payment plan. Call us today at (619) 760-2222 to get bail posted today.