Maryland BUI/BWI Penalties

Read about the consequences of being convicted of boating under the influence (BUI) in Maryland.

In Maryland, it’s illegal to operate of attempt to operate a vessel while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. However, Maryland has two classifications of boating under the influence—BUI (boating under the influence) and BWI (boating while impaired)—that carry different penalties. (Maryland’s Boating Under the Influence Laws explains how the offenses differ.) And the consequences of a conviction are typically more serious when someone was injured or killed or the boater has prior BUI or BWI convictions.

Below is an overview of the possibility penalties for various boating-under-the-influence offenses.

BUI Penalties

The consequences for a first, second, and third or subsequent BUI are:

  • First offense. A first-offense BUI is a misdemeanor and carries up to one year imprisonment and/or a maximum of $1,000 in fines.
  • Second offense. A second-offense BUI is a misdemeanor and carries up to two years imprisonment and/or a maximum of $2,000 in fines.
  • Third or subsequent offense. A third-offense BUI is a misdemeanor and carries up to three years imprisonment and/or a maximum of $3,000 in fines.

A judge can also suspend the boating privileges of any BUI offender who refused a chemical test in violation of Maryland’s implied consent laws or had a BAC of .08% or greater for up to one year.

(Md. Code Ann., Nat. Res. § 8-738(e)(1), (e)(3) (2016).)

BWI Penalties

The consequences for a first and second or subsequent BWI are:

  • First offense. A first-offense BWI is a misdemeanor and carries up to two months imprisonment and/or a maximum of $500 in fines.
  • Second or subsequent offense. A second-offense BWI is a misdemeanor and carries up to one year imprisonment and/or a maximum of $1,000 in fines.

(Md. Code Ann., Nat. Res. § 8-738(e)(2) (2016).)

BUIs and BWIs Involving “Life-Threatening” Injuries

Where a BUI or BWI offender causes an accident where another person suffers “life-threatening” injuries, the following penalties could apply:

  • BUI involving life-threatening injuries. A boater who causes life-threatening injuries to another while under the influence of alcohol or with a BAC of .08% or more is guilty of a misdemeanor and faces up to three years imprisonment and/or a maximum of $5,000 in fines.
  • Alcohol BWI involving life-threatening injuries. A boater who causes life-threatening injuries to another while impaired by alcohol is guilty of a misdemeanor and faces up to two years imprisonment and/or a maximum of $3,000 in fines.
  • Drug BWI involving life-threatening injuries. Generally, a boater who causes life-threatening injuries to another while impaired by drugs is guilty of a misdemeanor and faces up to three years imprisonment and/or a maximum of $5,000 in fines. (For certain drugs, the maximums are two years jail and $3,000 in fines.)

(Md. Code Ann., Crim. Law § 3-211 (2016).)

BUIs and BWIs Involving Death

Where a BUI or BWI offender causes an accident involving the death of another, the following penalties could apply:

  • BUI homicide. A boater who causes the death of another while under the influence of alcohol or with a BAC of .08% or more is guilty of a felony and faces up to five years imprisonment and/or a maximum of $5,000 in fines.
  • BWI involving life-threatening injuries. A boater who causes the death of another while impaired by alcohol or drugs is guilty of a felony and faces up to three years imprisonment and/or a maximum of $5,000 in fines.

(Md. Code Ann., Crim. Law §§ 2-503, 2-504, 2-505, 2-506 (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 a BUI Lawyer

The consequences of being convicted of boating under the influence are serious. And the facts of each case are different. If you’ve been arrested for or charged with a BUI or BWI, get in contact with a qualified attorney. An experienced BUI/BWI lawyer should be able to explain how the law applies to the facts of your case and tell you what you’re up against.

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