Washington BUI (Boating Under the Influence) Enhanced Penalties
Boaters beware! This year's annual Seafair on Lake Washington will feature a noticeable change.
Besides the increased presence of law enforcement agencies looking for impaired boaters, this year's participants also face stiffer penalties and fines if they get busted for boating under the influence (BUI), reports The Seattle Times.
Governor's Inslee's signing of the state's new tougher DUI laws has dominated the news this month. However, boaters should be aware that new BUI laws signed earlier this year took effect this past Sunday.
Dramatic Changes to Washington BUI Laws
Similar to DUI laws, Washington BUI laws set the legal limit to boat and drive at 0.08 blood alcohol level. For marijuana use, the legal limit is also the same at five nanograms of THC. The changes affecting BUI law generally enhance the penalties that someone faces. These changes include:
- Making a BUI a gross misdemeanor from a misdemeanor.
- Setting the maximum fine at $5,000
- Imposing a possible 364-day jail sentence
- Giving authorities the right to issue citations during the investigation of boating accidents they did not actually witness.
Along with enhanced penalties, law enforcement will also be able to require that boat operators suspected of driving under the influence submit to a blood or breath test. Suspects who refuse to submit to a breath test face a civil infraction with a whopping fine of $1000.00!
Be smart this Seafair weekend, have a designated operator who does not drink or use any mild-altering substance. Law enforcement will be out in full force and will pull boaters over for simply creating a wake in a "no-wake zone." Should you or someone you know be arrested for BUI, the possible penalties are quite severe and you will want an experienced BUI lawyer on your side.
To learn more about the changes to BUI laws and how they impact you, you can review the full text of the law here. In addition, if you have any specific questions, you can contact a BUI defense attorney at Wolff Criminal Defense by calling 425-284-2000 to schedule a consultation to discuss your case.