Idaho’s Boating Under the Influence Laws

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

Idaho law prohibits operating or being in actual physical control of a vessel while under the influences of drugs or alcohol. Generally, the term “vessel” includes “every description of watercraft, including a seaplane on the water, used or capable of being used as a means of transportation on water.” (Idaho Code Ann. § 67-7003(22) (2016).) A person can be convicted of boating under the influence (BUI) for operating a vessel while:

  • impaired by drugs, alcohol, or any other intoxicating substance “to a degree which renders [the person] incapable of safely operating a vessel to operate or be in actual physical control of a vessel,” or
  • having a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08% or greater.

(Idaho Code Ann. § 67-7034 (2016).)

BUI Penalties

The consequences of an Idaho BUI depend on the circumstances. But generally, a BUI is a misdemeanor and carries up to six months in jail and a maximum $1,000 in fines. All convicted boaters must also complete a state-approved safe boating course. (Idaho Code Ann. § 67-7033(6) (2016).)

“Aggravated” BUI Penalties

A boater who causes “great bodily harm, permanent disability or permanent disfigurement” to another person while boating under the influence can be convicted of an “aggravated” BUI, a felony. Aggravated BUIs generally carry 30 days to five years imprisonment, up to $5,000 in fines, and a one to two-year boating privilege suspension. (Idaho Code Ann. § 67-7035 (2016).)


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 Idaho, 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 the law applies to the facts of your case and help you decide on your best course of action.

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