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Home > Blog > Criminal Defense > Boating Under the Influence in Maine
Jul 28, 2020

Boating Under the Influence in Maine

Boating is popular in Maine, with 3,500 miles of coastline and innumerable coves, bays, harbors, and inlets, as well as more than 2,000 coastal islands and nearly 2,300 square miles of inland water area, including rivers and lakes. People are out on the water every day, either for work or recreation.

With boating being such a significant activity in Maine, it is no surprise that boating under the influence of alcohol is a common crime in the state. The BUI laws largely mirror those state laws governing driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, with similar penalties. If you are accused of violating Maine’s BUI laws, you should consult an attorney with experience in BUI cases. The boating-under-the-influence attorneys of The Maine Criminal Defense Group are ready to help.

Penalties for BUI in Maine Can Be Steep

Maine’s laws regulating boating under the influence adopt the standards for the state’s driving-under-the-influence statues. It is illegal to operate any motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, whether it is a car or a boat. Doing so can result in charges of operating under the influence (OUI). 

However, Maine has a separate law that specifically prohibits boating under the influence (BUI).

You can be charged with BUI if you are operating a watercraft while you are impaired by drugs or alcohol or have a blood alcohol content of at least .08 percent. If your BAC is significantly higher than .08 percent, the possible penalties for are even more stringent. Boat operators under age 21 can face charges for having any amount of alcohol in their systems.

The penalties for OUI can be harsh. This is usually a Class D misdemeanor charge for a first offense, and potential penalties include:

  • For a first-offense OUI charge, you can face fines of $400 up to $2,000, as well as up to a year in jail.  If your blood alcohol content was greater than .15%, you also could get a minimum two-day jail sentence. The same applies if you refused to submit to chemical testing or refused to stop your boat for a law enforcement officer.
  • Penalties for a second offense range from $600 to $2,000 in fines in addition to a jail sentence of anywhere from 7 days to 1 year.
  • For a third offense, the penalties escalate to fines of $1,000 to $2,000 as well as from 30 days up to a year in jail.
  • The judge also can order offenders to undergo substance abuse education or treatment.

You want to present a strong defense to any BUI charges, as prosecutors in Maine take these cases very seriously.

If You are Facing BUI Charges in Maine, Consult With the BUI Attorneys of The Maine Criminal Defense Group

Just as you wouldn’t ignore a charge of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, nor should you ignore a charge of boating under the influence. You should immediately seek legal assistance. The BUI attorneys of The Maine Criminal Defense Group are ready to help you.

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