What is boating under the influence?


Whether it is vacationers coming to Colorado for a getaway or residents relaxing on a weekend excursion away from home, the state’s numerous waterways and recreational spots are hard to pass up. Unfortunately, too many people see recreational waterways as an extension of their vacation activities and often pilot a watercraft under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Not only might they cause a devastating collision, but they could face severe criminal consequences.

According to safety experts, individuals will likely feel the effects of alcohol on the water far faster than they would on land. This could impair perceptions as well as decision-making. Law enforcement will not hesitate to act quickly if they feel they will prevent a collision and reduce the potential for severe injuries. With this in mind, a charge of boating under the influence (BUI) is serious.

It is not uncommon for law enforcement officials to set up checkpoints to identify boaters who struggle with impairment. Unfortunately, breath tests, chemical tests or field sobriety tests are not always reliable. Often, any sort of accurate testing on the water is severely hampered by either the environment itself or the skill of the officer administering the test.

Are there common penalties?

Individuals charged with boating under the influence will likely face strict criminal consequences. Colorado law enforcement takes these charges seriously and will often pursue the maximum penalties possible in every situation. While a BUI charge does not threaten an individual’s driving privileges, he or she might face strict consequences such as lengthy jail time, hefty fines or several hours of community service. Additionally, individuals might lose their rights to operate a water vessel or a recreational watercraft for extended periods.

It is wise to seek skilled legal representation when facing even a seemingly minor charge. A defense attorney will fight to shield you from the full force of the criminal justice system and limit your exposure to potentially devastating consequences.