Boating Under the Influence (BUI)

How is Boating Under the Influence different from Driving While Impaired?

DWI:

  • An officer must have reasonable suspicion to stop the vehicle.
  • An Implied Consent Offense – Any person who drives a vehicle on a highway or public vehicular area, thereby gives consent to a chemical analysis if charged with an implied‑consent offense. Refusal to submit to the test results in a mandatory one year license revocation. (G.S. 20-16.2)
  • 30 day Civil Revocation of license under certain conditions. (G.S. 20-16.5)
  • Standardized Field Sobriety Tests are admissible in court.
  • Defined as a Misdemeanor. Requires a sentencing hearing to determine punishment. (G.S. 20-138.1 and G.S. 20-179)

BUI:

  • An officer does NOT need reasonable suspicion to stop the vessel.
  • NOT an Implied Consent Offense – Any person who operates a vessel is NOT required to consent to a chemical analysis. An officer can obtain a chemical analysis in the following ways ways: (1) Consent, (2) Search Warrant, or (3) Exigent Circumstances.
  • Being charged, convicted, and/or refusing a chemical analysis does NOT effect your driver’s license.
  • Standardized Field Sobriety Tests, with the exception of HGN, are not often used on the water. Non-validated tests may be inadmissible in court.
  • Class 2 Misdemeanor. (G.S. 75A-10)

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§ 75A‑10.  Operating vessel or manipulating water skis, etc., in reckless manner; operating, etc., while intoxicated, etc.; depositing or discharging litter, etc
(a) No person shall operate any motorboat or vessel, or manipulate any water skis, surfboard, or similar device on the waters of this State in a reckless or negligent manner so as to endanger the life, limb, or property of any person.
(b) No person shall manipulate any water skis, surfboard, nonmotorized vessel, or similar device on the waters of this State while under the influence of an impairing substance.
(b1) No person shall operate any vessel while underway on the waters of this State:
(1) While under the influence of an impairing substance, or
(2) After having consumed sufficient alcohol that the person has, at any relevant time after the boating, an alcohol concentration of 0.08 or more.
(b2) The fact that a person charged with violating this subsection is or has been legally entitled to use alcohol or a drug is not a defense to a charge under subsections (b) and (b1) of this section. The relevant definitions contained in G.S. 20‑4.01 shall apply to subsections (b), (b1), and (b2) of this section.
(b3) A person who violates a provision of subsection (a), (b), or (b1) of this section is guilty of a Class 2 misdemeanor. (A fine of up to $1000 and 60 days in jail.)
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