Summer is officially over, the weather is getting cooler and most boat owners are preparing their boats for storage until next summer. Unfortunately for some Raleigh boat owners, summer on the lake came to an end before fall made its appearance because they were arrested for boating under the influence (BUI).
North Carolina Statutes
North Carolina statutes prohibit the operation of 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. In addition, these statutes prohibit a person from “manipulating any water skis, surfboard, nonmotorized vessel, or similar device on the waters of this State while under the influence of an impairing substance.” Violation of either of these is a Class 2 misdemeanor. Violating the BUI law is considered a class 2 misdemeanor and punishable by up to 60days in jail and a $1,000 fine.
While on the water, law enforcement can stop you for any reason, for example, certain marine patrol officers may stop your boat for a “safety inspection” to confirm you have the correct number of life vests and other emergency equipment. You may also be stopped if your boat is not properly registered or licensed. Similarly, you may be stopped if you are not following properly posted navigation aids such as “no wake zone” signs or channel markers.
North Carolina’s Implied Consent Law
North Carolina’s implied consent law does not include boaters. Someone who is suspected of driving while impaired must allow their BAC to be tested or their driver’s license can be revoked for refusing such testing. Someone who is suspected of boating under the influence does not have to comply with a request for a BAC test and their driver’s license cannot be revoked for refusing such test.
BUI Impact on Your North Carolina Driving Privileges
The main questions we hear from someone charged with a BUI is “will this impact my driver’s license?” While a BUI charge alone does not impact your North Carolina driving privileges, if a boater’s driver’s license is already suspended for a DWI, a subsequent BUI may result in additional suspension.
Although a BUI does not have the exact same consequences as a DWI, it is still a serious charge, which can negatively impact your life. If you have been charged with a BUI contact the attorneys of Kirk, Kirk, Howell, Cutler & Thomas, L.L.P. in Raleigh or Wendell to discuss your case. Call 919-615-2473 or Request a case review today!
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