In Maine, it's not only illegal to drive a car while intoxicated but also to operate a boat while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. This article explains Maine's boating under the influence (BUI) laws and the penalties you'll face for a BUI conviction.
Maine law prohibits operating or attempting to operate a watercraft while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. A person can be convicted of boating under the influence (BUI) for operating a watercraft while:
In other words—just like how it works with Maine's operating-under-the-influence (OUI) laws—you can be convicted of a BUI for boating with an excessive amount of alcohol in your system or while actually intoxicated by drugs or alcohol.
In many states, you can only get a BUI if the boat is motorized. But Maine's BUI laws apply to all watercraft. So it's theoretically possible to get a BUI on a sailboat, rowboat, or any other type of watercraft.
The consequences of a Maine BUI conviction depend on the circumstances of the case. But generally, a BUI is a class D misdemeanor and the possible penalties depend mostly on the number of prior convictions.
For purposes of determining whether a BUI is a second or subsequent offense, only prior convictions within the past six years count.
A first BUI typically carries $400 to $2,000 in fines and up to one year in jail. There's also a minimum 48-hour jail sentence if the boater had a BAC of .15% or greater, failed to yield to an officer, or refused to submit to chemical testing in violation of Maine's implied consent laws.
A second BUI generally carries $600 to $2,000 in fines and seven days to one year in jail.
A third BUI generally carries $1,000 to $2,000 in fines and 30 days to one year in jail.
Boating under the influence in the tidewaters or offshore waters of Maine is a class E misdemeanor. Convicted boaters face up to $1,000 in fines and a maximum of six months in jail.
In addition to the other penalties, a judge can order any BUI offender to participate in substance abuse education and treatment.
The consequences of a Maine BUI are serious, and the facts of every case are different. If you've been arrested for boating under the influence, get in touch with an experienced DUI/BUI lawyer. A qualified attorney can explain how the law applies to the facts of your case and help you decide on the best course of action.