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.
The consequences for a first, second, and third or subsequent BUI are:
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).)
The consequences for a first and second or subsequent BWI are:
(Md. Code Ann., Nat. Res. § 8-738(e)(2) (2016).)
Where a BUI or BWI offender causes an accident where another person suffers “life-threatening” injuries, the following penalties could apply:
(Md. Code Ann., Crim. Law § 3-211 (2016).)
Where a BUI or BWI offender causes an accident involving the death of another, the following penalties could apply:
(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.
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.