Kansas’s Boating Under the Influence Laws

Read about the consequences of boating under the influence (BUI) in Kansas.

Kansas law prohibits operating a vessel within the state while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. The term “vessel” includes “any watercraft designed to be propelled by machinery, oars, paddles or wind action upon a sail for navigation on the water.” (Kan. Stat. Ann. § 32-1102(a) (2016).) A person can be convicted of boating under the influence (BUI) for operating a vessel while:

  • impaired by drugs, alcohol, or a combination of the two to “a degree that renders the person incapable of safely operating a vessel,” or
  • having a blood or breath alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08% or greater (.02% or more for boaters under 21 years old).

(Kan. Stat. Ann. § 32-1131(a) (2016).)

BUI Penalties

Kansas BUI penalties depend on the offender’s age and whether the offender has previously been convicted of a BUI. The consequences for a first, repeat-offense, and underage BUI are:

  • First offense. A first BUI carries up to one year in jail and/or between $100 and $500 in fines.
  • Repeat offense. Where a BUI offender has at least one prior BUI conviction, the second or subsequent BUI carries between 90 days and one year in jail, and the court can impose $100 to $500 in fines.
  • Underage. If a boater who is under 21 years old operates a vessel with a BAC of at least .02% but less than .08%, the person’s boating privileges will be suspended for 30 days for a first offense and 90 days for a second offense.

All Kansas BUI offenders must complete a state-approved boater safety education course.

(Kan. Stat. Ann. § 32-1131(d), (e) & (f) (2016).)

HOW MUCH TIME WOULD YOU ACTUALLY SPEND IN JAIL?

Sentencing law is complex. For example, a statute might list a “minimum” jail sentence that’s longer than the actual amount of time (if any) a defendant will have to spend behind bars. All kinds of factors can affect actual punishment, including credits for good in-custody behavior and jail-alternative work programs.

If you face criminal charges, consult an experienced criminal defense lawyer. An attorney with command of the rules in your jurisdiction will be able to explain the law as it applies to your situation.

Talk to an Attorney

If you’ve been arrested for or charged with boating under the influence in Kansas, get in contact with an experienced BUI attorney. The facts of every case are different. A good BUI attorney should be able to explain how Kansas BUI law applies to the facts of your case and help you decide on the best course of action.

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