Colorado law prohibits operating or being in actual physical control of a vessel while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. The term “vessel” includes “every description of watercraft used or capable of being used as a means of transportation of persons and property on the water, other than single-chambered air-inflated devices or seaplanes.” A person can be convicted of boating under the influence (BUI) for operating a vessel while:
In other words, a BUI conviction can be based on actual impairment or the amount of alcohol in the boater's system.
The consequences of a Colorado BUI generally depend on whether the offender has prior BUI convictions. First and repeat-offense BUIs are misdemeanors with the following penalties:
Judges have the option of suspending all or part of a jail sentence if the offender completes a drug and alcohol education or treatment program and agrees to stay alcohol-free for one year. For a first offense, a judge can suspend the whole sentence. But on a repeat offense, a judge can suspend only 55 days of the 60-day minimum sentence.
If you’ve been arrested for or charged with boating under the influence in Colorado, 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.