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Boating Under the Influence in Seattle, WA

Trusted Seattle BUI Attorney

For many, taking a boat out on the water and enjoying alcohol is great way to unwind and a celebrated summer pastime. However, Washington State has recently cracked down on boating under the influence offenses, or BUI, and has enhanced penalties to be even harsher for those convicted. Now, a BUI conviction can mean hefty fines and even significant jail time for the accused.

If you have been charged with boating under the influence in Washington, we invite you to contact us at Guadagno Law, PLLC. Our Seattle BUI lawyers have more than a decade of experience in protecting the rights of clients facing the most serious of charges. Our aggressive, results-driven approach means not only will you voice be heard before the law, but that every possible defense avenue will be pursued to its fullest extent.

Why clients are choosing Guadagno Law, PLLC:

  • 24/7 emergency services for your time of need
  • Free, initial case consultations
  • Responsive, compassionate, attentive legal counsel
  • Aggressive defense strategies from former prosecutors

Retain a Seattle BUI attorney capable of producing results. Contact us at (206) 569-8995 for a FREE initial consultation today.

Washington State BUI Laws

In Washington State, boating under the influence (BUI) is considered a gross misdemeanor and can result in up to a year in jail and/or a fine up to $5,000. While your license cannot be suspended, the penalties if someone is seriously injured, or dies, as a result of BUI can be harsh.

BUI Penalties in Washington

In 2015, state legislature made the penalties for BUI more severe than they had been in years past. Previously, BUI was a simple misdemeanor, but now the offense is considered a "gross misdemeanor" with more serious consequences and protocols that more closely resemble DUI laws.

Being convicted of boating under the influence of alcohol or drugs can incur the following penalties:

  • Up to $5,000 in fines
  • Up to 1 year in jail
  • Boat operators are now subject to implied consent breathalyzer laws. If an officer asks him or her to submit to a breathalyzer test and the defendant refuses, he or she can be subject to a Class 1 Civil Infraction, which can result in a fine of up to $2,050.
  • A BUI that caused serious injury to another person can result in ten years in prison and/or $20,000 in fines, while a BUI that involved someone's death can result in a life sentence in prison and/or $50,000 in fines.
  • Note that BUI convictions do not result in driver's license suspensions.

Questions on Boating Under the Influence in Washington State

To properly build a powerful defense against your BUI charges, you will need to understand the boating laws in Washington. Below, we shed some light on some of the laws pertaining to the operation of a boat.

Do you need a license to drive a boat in Washington?

Since 2005, the state of Washington began phasing in a law that requires mandatory boating education for all boaters. The final phase of this law went into effect in 2016 which requires all boaters over 12 years old to have a Boater Education Card. This is not required if you are renting or leasing a motor boat or vessel.

When is a person considered “under the influence” of alcohol or a drug?

If the person has 0.08 grams or more of alcohol per two hundred liters of breath the boater can be classified as illegally intoxicated. This can be measured by their breath. Another measurement would be based on whether they appear to be affected by an intoxicating liquor or drug.

How should you respond if pulled over?

As a boater, you are required to respond to the law enforcement officer’s request to stop your boat. It is against the law to evade the officer or ignore his or her demands.

Can you have alcohol on a boat?

It is not illegal to have alcohol on a water vessel. You are allowed to drink on a boat, but it is against the law to operate the vessel while under the influence.

Request a FREE Consultation: (206) 569-8995

Defending against BUI charges is not quite the same as countering DUI charges, and it is extremely important that you retain counsel familiar and capable in this area. BUIs are policed by different agencies (like the Coast Guard) and are subject to different protocols and probable cause issues. Do not face these charges without counsel you can count on.

Contact me at Guadagno Law, PLLC for a FREE case evaluation today.

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