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Boating BUI

Many California boaters are unaware that operating a vessel under the influence of alcohol or drugs is a criminal offense in California. Boating under the influence carries serious consequences, including fines and possible jail time. Any California boater facing charges of operating a vessel under the influence of alcohol or drugs should consult with a San Francisco DUI attorney experienced in defending BUI cases.

Boating under the influence, or BUI, is covered under California's Harbors and Navigation Code. The code defines being under the influence as having a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08 percent for a recreational vessel and .04 percent for a commercial craft. For watercraft such as aquaplanes and water skis, there is zero tolerance, meaning that the user cannot ingest any alcohol at all.

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Attorneys for the firm represent clients accused of driving under the influence of alcohol or driving with a blood alcohol level at or above the legal limit in San Francisco, San Mateo, Marin, Alameda, Santa Clara, Contra Costa, Sonoma and Napa counties.

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In many ways, boating under the influence of alcohol or drugs can be even more dangerous that driving under the influence. In substantial quantities, alcohol negatively impacts judgment, balance, coordination, and vision, and increases the likelihood of risk-taking behavior. According to the United States Coast Guard, over half the victims in boating deaths involving alcohol use capsized their boats or fell overboard.

Boats are inferior to cars in their ability to brake and steer. In addition, a typical boat operator spends only a few days a year on the water, and is far less skilled at operating watercraft than a motor vehicle. Considering the motion and spray typical of most boating outings, along with fatigue and alcohol consumption, the potential for danger is obvious.

A conviction for boating under the influence in California counts as a prior conviction in future driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs (DUI) cases. This means that if a person is convicted of boating under the influence, and is arrested for DUI on land or water within 10 years, the DUI will be considered a second drunk driving offense.

Boating under the influence charges can be fought and won with the help of excellent legal counsel. A California criminal defense attorney experienced in defending BUI cases will launch an aggressive defense designed to keep consequences to a minimum.

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