You can get a DUI while operating a boat, and the penalties could be severe. While most people understand that drinking and driving a vehicle is illegal, they may not be aware that drinking and boating can also lead to significant penalties. At Randall Page, P.C., our Virginia boating DUI attorneys are here to discuss these cases and what you can do if you have been charged with boating under the influence. We work extensively with those who are facing charges throughout the Greensville and Southampton County areas.
There are many places that residents throughout our area boat, including Emporia Lake, the Meherrin River, and even day trippers to the ocean. Most people understand that it is illegal to drive while intoxicated by alcohol or drugs in Virginia. However, many people fail to realize that they can also be arrested for operating a boat while intoxicated.
Virginia Code § 29.1-738 prohibits any person from operating a motorized water vessel while under the influence of alcohol drugs. Specifically, those found with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08% or higher can be arrested and charged with boating under the influence (BUI) in these instances. For those under the age of 21, the legal allowable BAC is only .02%.
Those who are arrested for boating under the influence face a Class 1 Misdemeanor in Virginia. This could result in:
Please understand that if somebody is injured or killed due to a person boating under the influence of alcohol, the penalties will be much more severe. Additionally, subsequent BUI offenses will result in more severe penalties, including longer jail sentences and larger fines.
A major difference between alcohol laws regarding motor vehicles and boats is that it is legal to have an open container of alcohol on a boat. Further, passengers on a water vessel are allowed to drink alcohol while the boat is in motion. However, the person actually operating the boat must adhere to the BAC levels mentioned above, or they face the possibility of arrest and conviction for boating under the influence (BUI).
It is important to understand that these are just the criminal penalties put in place by the Commonwealth of Virginia. Any person who causes injury or death to another while boating under the influence of alcohol will also be open to civil personal injury or wrongful death lawsuits. This could result in significant financial losses for the individual alleged to be responsible.
If you or somebody you love has been charged with DUI after operating a boat in or around the Courtland or Emporia area, please seek legal assistance as soon as possible. At Randall Page, P.C., we are here to help. Our knowledgeable and experienced team will conduct a thorough investigation of the charges against you. Our goal will be to get these charges reduced or dismissed altogether. When you need a Virginia BUI attorney, you can contact us for a free consultation of your case by clicking here or by calling 757-517-8956. We are prepared to help clients throughout the Greensville and Southampton County areas.