Alabama law prohibits operating or being in actual physical control of a vessel while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Generally, the term “vessel” includes “[e]very description of watercraft, other than a seaplane, capable of being used as a means of transportation on the water.” (Ala. Code § 33-5-3(1) (2016).) A person can be convicted of boating under the influence (BUI) for operating a vessel while:
(Ala. Code § § 32-5A-191, 32-5A-191.3 (2016).)
The consequences of an Alabama BUI depend on the circumstances of the case. But generally, a BUI is a class A misdemeanor, and the possible penalties—which are the same as those for an Alabama DUI—are:
If a BUI offender had a passenger under 14 years old or BAC of .15% or greater, the judge must impose at least double the normal penalties for the offense. (Ala. Code § 32-5A-191 (2016).)
BUI offenders who cause accidents where someone suffers “serious physical injury” or is killed can face felony charges. The possible penalties for these types of BUI offenses are:
(Ala. Code § § 13A-5-6, 13A-5-11, 13A-6-4, 13A-6-20 (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.
If you’ve been arrested for or charged with boating under the influence in Alabama, 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.