Boating Under the Influence

Lawyers who defend drunk boating charges.

Boating Under the Influence (BUI)

Knoxville residents love their boats, and numerous East Tennesseans enjoy water sports as a favorite hobby. Unfortunately, each year many are charged with a boating under the influence because they consumed alcohol while operating their boat. The officers from TWRA have made it clear that they will seek out and prosecute anyone suspected of boating under the influence: “TWRA would like boating fans to realize the effects and consequences of alcohol consumption while boating. In a boat on the water, drinking a single beer is the same as drinking three beers on land due to external stresses for instance engine vibration, wave motion and glare from the sun. Operating a boat with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08 percent or higher is illegal in Tennessee, the same as operating an automobile.” In short, boating while drinking will lead to a BUI charge, which stands for “boating under the influence.”

It is a criminal offense in East Tennessee to operate a boat or any other watercraft while under the influence of alcohol. The BAC limit in Tennessee for operating a watercraft is .08 percent. Most often, the same field sobriety tests and breathalyzer tests are used for boating under the influence as they are for driving under the influence.

That said, the crime and punishments are not the same as DUI and there are several defenses you can raise to BUI that may not be available for DUI. Tennessee law also provides certain legal exceptions in boating under the influence cases.

Penalties for BUI Convictions

  • BUI 1st Offense
    • Fine: $250.00 minimum, $2,500.00 maximum
    • Jail: Up to 11 months and 29 days
    • Boating License may be suspended for up to one year
  • BUI 2nd Offense
    • Fine: $500.00 minimum, $2,500.00 maximum
    • Jail: Up to 11 Months and 29 days
    • Boating License will be suspended for two years
  • BUI 3rd Offense or more
    • Fine: $1,000.00 minimum, $5,000.00 maximum
    • Jail: Minimum of 30 days, Maximum up to 11 months and 29 days
    • Boating License will be suspended for 3 years minimum, 10 years maximum

Experienced BUI Defense Attorneys

If you are arrested for BUI in Tennessee, you should promptly consult with a skilled Knoxville BUI attorney about the facts of your case to preserve defenses and avoid the onerous penalties involved with a conviction.

Due to the similarities in why individuals are arrested for boating under the influence and for driving under the influence, individuals charged with boating under the influence in Tennessee should seek a Knoxville lawyer experienced in the complexities of drunk driving defense.

It is also just as important in BUI cases as it is in driving under the influence cases that the defense investigation begins as soon as possible following the police arrest in order to obtain the best possible chance of a successful outcome.

Arrested for Intoxication While Boating?

A BUI (boating under the influence) charge can be just as damaging to your future as a DUI. We recommend consulting with an experienced attorney who has dealt with these matters. Garza Law has many successful cases in which the BUI charges were dropped altogether. We look forward to hearing about your case and explaining why Garza Law is best-suited to defend your boating under the influence charges. Contact us for a free consultation.