Pretty much everyone’s heard of driving under the influence, and that could include either drugs or alcohol. (And yes – that could include anything from a truck or car, to a lawnmower or a golf cart!) But did you know that in Michigan, you can also be arrested for boating under the influence? Yes indeed – operating a boat out on the water when you’ve been drinking is just as illegal as if you were behind the wheel of your car, and the penalties are just as severe!
There are actually two kinds of “drunk boating” charges:
In Michigan there are lots of different types of drunk driving acronyms. There’s DUI (Driving Under the Influence), DWI (Driving While Intoxicated), OWI (Operating While Intoxicated), and OWVI (Operating While Visibly Intoxicated) to name but a few. However, did you know that there are also acronyms for being drunk while driving a boat?
BUI (Boating Under the Influence):
BUI means that someone is operating a motorboat in Michigan with:
- A blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08% or greater,
- With any amount of a controlled substance in their blood, or
- While impaired by drugs and/or alcohol to an extent that they’re “substantially deprived of normal control or clarity of mind.”
BWVI (Boating While Visibly Intoxicated):
BWVI is a little different, and refers to someone operating a motor boat while “visibly impaired” due to alcohol or drugs. In this case the prosecutor doesn’t have to show your BAC in court. All they have to do is prove that your ability to operate a boat safely was “visibly impaired.”
What exactly is a motorboat?
This one confuses a lot of people. They have a specific idea about what a motorboat is, and if they weren’t piloting that particular kind of craft, then they don’t understand why the charge even applies to them. “I wasn’t even driving a motorboat!” Well, Michigan law spells out exactly what a motorboat is, and it includes a lot of different watercraft options. This includes “any boat, jet ski, yacht, or personal watercraft powered by an engine. “
Implied consent applies to boaters as well!
You may have heard of Michigan’s Implied Consent law, which says that if you’re driving a car on a Michigan road, you’ve consented to have your BAC tested if an officer suspects you’re intoxicated. Well, the same goes for boats. If you’re out there on Michigan waters, piloting a watercraft, and a law enforcement officer suspects you’re drunk or drugged, they’ve got the right to test you after they arrest you.
Have you been accused of boating under the influence in Michigan?
If your boat is docked, feel free to party it up. As long as you stay in the dock with your boat while you’re drinking, and don’t leave the slip, you’re fine. Michigan law says that a docked boat that’s not operating on open water isn’t subject to the same regulations. We hope you’ve enjoyed your summer, but if you need some help with a drunk driving, or drunk boating charge, the skilled DUI and BUI defense attorneys at The Kronzek Firm PLC at here to help. Call us at 866 766 5245 (866 7No Jail). We can help you right now.